• joe@jhanderson.biz   
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  • You can’t do a lot to change the way your hardwired biases operate. But there are ways to skillfully deploy your biases to minimize their negative impact. Buster Benson, of the Better Humans website, points out that one particular bias can be a handy ally. “Confirmation bias” describes your propensity to find evidence that supports your presuppositions. The more aware of your bias you can become—the more you can convince yourself that you engage in biased thinking as part of your standard operating procedure—the more easily you will see evidence of bias.

    In short: if you set out to find bias in your thinking, then you’ll find bias in your thinking. And that gives you a better chance to rein it in or compensate for it.

    Can this mean you see bias in too many places? Perhaps. But you’ll benefit from erring on the side of assuming bias. It will give you a humble and flexible outlook with regard to your own perceptions.

    Remember that “humble and flexible” doesn’t mean “frozen.” Just as you can only see so far and run so fast, your brain has its limitations. But you still see, and you still run, and you still think, as best you can within your limits. Despite your inevitable biases, you do have a lot of capacity for wise and clear choices.

    Try It: You can boost your conviction that you are subject to bias by learning more about how bias affects you. Buster Benson has a nice biases cheat sheet on his website, and the Wikipedia Cognitive Biases page is also a (somewhat daunting) treasure-trove of examples. Take a few minutes to explore the range and depth of your biases: it may give you all the confirmation you need.

    Image: https://pixabay.com/en/glasses-eye-lens-frame-2876367/  CC0 Creative Commons