So the daily prompt is asking us to jot down our favorite mistake! Mmmmm….. I keep on making mistakes and none of them is my favorite but the word mistakes make me tell you all something that I had come across a few months back. When I first read it, I was shocked as it actually fit into my life perfectly. I realized that I had been making all of those mistakes with my subconscious mind. So here are mistakes that we make with our subconscious minds
Surrounding ourselves with similar beliefs
We tend to like people who think like us. So that means we dismiss anything that threatens our world of thinking. This is also known as “frequency illusion”. If you bought a blue car, you suddenly see blue cars all over the city.
Whenever your opinions or beliefs are so intertwined with your self-image that you couldn’t pull them away without damaging your core concepts of self, you avoid situations that may cause harm to those beliefs. –David McRaney
“Swimmer’s body” illusion
Professional swimmers don’t have perfect bodies because they train extensively. Rather, they are good swimmers because of their physiques. How their bodies are designed is a factor for selection and not the result of their activities – The art of thinking clearly (book). So it means that we confuse selection factors with results. This is something very similar to mind playing tricks on us.
Without this illusion, half of advertising campaigns would not work – The art of thinking clearly (book)
We worry about things we have already lost or left behind
Organisms that placed more urgency on avoiding threats than they did on maximizing opportunities were more likely to pass on their genes. So over time, the prospect of losses has become a more powerful motivator on your behavior than the promise of gains – Daniel Kahneman explains this in his book, Thinking Fast and Slow
We tend to miss the logical facts and instead make irrational decisions, completely based on our emotions.
For instance, if you buy a movie ticket only to realize the movie is terrible, you could either:
A) stay and watch the movie, to “get your money’s worth” since you’ve already paid for the ticket (sunk-cost fallacy)
B) leave the cinema and use that time to do something you’ll actually enjoy.
The thing to remember is this: You can’t get that investment back. It’s gone. Don’t let it cloud your judgment in whatever decision you’re making in this moment–let it remain in the past
Once again, we’re proven to be illogical creatures. The problem occurs when we place too much weight on past events and confuse our memory with how the world actually works, believing that they will have an effect on future outcomes.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone. How many times have you gotten home after a shopping trip only to be less than satisfied with your purchase decisions and started rationalizing them to yourself? Maybe you didn’t really want it after all, or in hindsight you thought it was too expensive. Or maybe it didn’t do what you hoped and was actually useless to you.
Regardless, we’re pretty good at convincing ourselves that those flashy, useless, badly thought-out purchases are necessary after all. This is known as post-purchase rationalization or Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome.
Decisions based on anchoring effect
Let’s look at some examples from Dan, to illustrate this effect in practice:
One example is an experiment that Dan conducted using two kinds of chocolates for sale in a booth: Hershey’s Kisses and Lindt Truffles. The Kisses were one penny each, while the Truffles were 15 cents each. Considering the quality differences between the two kinds of chocolates and the normal prices of both items, the Truffles were a great deal, and the majority of visitors to the booth chose the Truffles.
For the next stage of his experiment, Dan offered the same two choices, but lowered the prices by one cent each. So now the Kisses were free, and the Truffles cost 14 cents each. Of course, the Truffles were even more of a bargain now, but since the Kisses were free, most people chose those, instead.
Your loss-aversion system is always vigilant, waiting on standby to keep you from giving up more than you can afford to spare, so you calculate the balance between cost and reward whenever possible. -You Are Not So Smart (Book)
Believing in Memories than facts
Our memories are highly fallible and plastic. And yet, we tend to subconsciously favor them over objective facts.
Yet reliable statistical evidence will outperform the availability heuristic every time – two Chicago scholars (book)
The lesson here? Whenever possible, look at the facts. Examine the data. Don’t base a factual decision on your gut instinct without at least exploring the data objectively first. If we look at the psychology of language in general, we’ll find even more evidence that looking at facts first is necessary.
Paying more attention to stereotypes
The funny thing about lots of these thinking mistakes, especially those related to memory, is that they’re so ingrained. I had to think long and hard about why they’re mistakes at all.
The human mind is so wedded to stereotypes and so distracted by vivid descriptions that it will seize upon them, even when they defy logic, rather than upon truly relevant facts – Daniel Kahneman
Clearly, it’s normal for us to be irrational and to think illogically, especially when language acts as a limitation to how we think, even though we rarely realize we’re doing it. Still, being aware of the pitfalls we often fall into when making decisions can help us to at least recognize them, if not avoid them