When it comes to making strong, objective decisions, you’re about the last person on earth you should trust. So today, we’re taking a page from Seinfeld’s George Costanza.
When ”What Comes Naturally” Isn’t Always In Your Best Interest
We’re wired to put more weight on a decision that leads to an immediate reward, that’s not always the case. Psychology Today puts this rather bluntly:
Our instincts most often drive us toward instant gratification.
Instant gratification is not always a bad thing, but more often than not we prioritize the moment over the future. We convince ourselves that our instincts are right when they’re not. The myth that your body ”tells you what it needs” when you’re craving something is a good example of this. It’s a blatant trick your brain plays on you in order to get a reward.
Your Viewpoint Is Incredibly Limited
You don’t know everything and you can’t see everything from different viewpoints. We’ve covered how confirmation bias colors your decisions because you gravitate towards like-minded ideas, but just as important is the idea of an availability heuristic.
The availability heuristic is essentially a decision making shortcut that means ”if you can think of it, it must be important.” This is when you add emphasis to details because you’ve heard of them. For instance, if you’ve seen a lot of stories about zombie-like behavior, you’re more willing to accept the fact that zombies are real.
Both confirmation bias and the availability heuristic boil down to one thing: you prioritize one idea because everything else seems unlikely to you. This leads to close-mindedness which can cause bad decisions and block creativity.
The next time you’re faced with a social decision (preferably one without horrible repercussions), considering looking at the alternative. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results and if nothing else you’ll learn a little about an opposing view of the world.
The Costanza Principle: Empower Your Inner Contrarian and Make Better Decisions
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