Humans are smart at creating shortcuts to make decision making simpler. While this allows for swift resolutions, it can result in inaccuracy if such heuristics are flawed. Here are some ways to keep your cognitive biases in check and avoid being a lazy thinker.
- Understand that you can be wrong
Hindsight bias is something that we have all undeniably committed at some point in our lives. Ever thought that you just knew for sure which stock or cryptocurrency’s price will go up? How about regretting not bringing an umbrella based on a gut feeling that the skies would definitely stay clear? Realise that all these claims are only made after the event has happened in reality. In fact, research shows that some people also misremember their past predictions. To combat this, accept the fact that you may, and can very well be, wrong. To err is to be human after all.
- Question yourself
Belief bias is when you think that an idea is true simply because they sound believable to you. While we are unable to choose what we want to hear, we have the power to believe and internalise what we want to. If something is congruent with what you think is true, you are unlikely to do further research to validate what you already categorise as fact.
- Disprove yourself
Confirmation bias is when we specifically seek out information that supports our beliefs and ignore all evidence that does not. For instance, you may believe that eating chocolate is good for your health and will check out articles that support what you want to believe in. If you found another article highlighting how white or milk chocolate can be harmful for your health when consumption is not moderated, you may ignore it.
- Know when to listen to your brain
When your heart guides the majority of your actions, you are committing to visceral bias. Emotions can distort your perspective and cause you to misinterpret risks and gains. Just because something is dreadful and unpleasant does not mean that you must avoid it. While the heart matters, you need to remember to let your brain do its fair share of steering.
Lazy thinking doesn’t always equate to a lack of effort or focus. Sometimes, it also has to do with what feels the most comfortable and the act of taking certain things for granted. By staying grounded and remaining mentally flexible, we can allow ourselves to see past the obvious and react in manner that not only befits the situation, but also sets a strong precedent for future occasions.