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We are frequently in error but rarely in doubt

"We are frequently in error but rarely in doubt." Dr Ellen Langer


Harvard Professor of Social Psychology Langer studies the illusion of control and decision-making, amongst other topics.


Her quote above reminded me of the well studied concept of 'optimism bias', i.e. we tend to overestimate the probability of positive events and underestimate the probability of negative events happening to us in the future.


Not a bad bias to have surely after all the challenges facing the world this year?


True that is... but not entirely true.


A strong optimisim bias can lead to poor decision-making, which can sometimes have disastrous results.


Does that mean we should expect the worst and hope for the best?


No according to Langer for two reasons.


1) We often get what we 'expect' so be careful where you allow your mind to focus.


2) And 'hope' when akin to wishful thinking won't help. You need a plan.


Langer says we should be mindfully optimistic about our journey forward, i.e. focus on what you want more of and establish clear steps to getting there.

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