…it’s so important to enshrine core priorities, not just cheerlead for generic values.
Developing multiple alternatives will sometimes be difficult because our minds don’t always think, “This and that.” Often, for example, we’ll get stuck in a mindset of prevention OR promotion. If we can do both, seeking out options that minimize harm AND maximize opportunity, we are more likely to uncover our full spectrum of choices.
More than half of teachers quit their jobs within four years. In fact, one study in Philadelphia schools found that a teacher was almost two times more likely to drop out than a student.
Until we are forced to dig up a new option, we’re likely to stay fixated on the ones we already have.
We can’t deactivate our biases, but…we can counteract them with the right discipline.
Psychologists have identified two contrasting mindsets that affect our motivation and our receptiveness to new opportunities: a “prevention focus,” which orients us toward avoiding negative outcomes, and a “promotion focus,” which orients us toward pursuing positive outcomes.
The tricky thing about the confirmation bias is that it can look very scientific. After all, we’re collecting data. Dan Lovallo, the professor and decision-making researcher cited in the introduction, said, “Confirmation bias is probably the single biggest problem in business, because even the most sophisticated people get it wrong. People go out and they’re collecting the data, and they don’t realize they’re cooking the books.”
The future has an uncanny ability to surprise. We can’t shine a spotlight on areas when we don’t know they exist.
Research has found that interviews are less predictive of job performance than work samples, job-knowledge tests, and peer ratings of past job performance. Even a simple intelligence test is substantially more predictive than an interview.
Perhaps the most powerful question for resolving personal decisions is “What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?”
Researchers have found this result again and again. When people have the opportunity to collect information from the world, they are more likely to select information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Political partisans seek out media outlets that support their side but will rarely challenge their beliefs by seeking out the other side’s perspective. Consumers who covet new cars or computers will look for reasons to justify the purchase but won’t be as diligent about finding reasons to postpone it.