People aren’t logical. We think we’re logical but we are not logical.
We see what we want to see and we notice information that confirms what we already believe – it’s called Confirmation Bias.
I learned about biases when I was studying for my Psychology degree. I LOVE cognitive biases! They explain so many of the weird things we do and make it easier to understand how people can be in exactly the same place at exactly the same time, see exactly the same thing and come away with completely different stories.
Over the last 24 hours, my knowledge of biases has got me a bit worried.
As I prepare to launch my first online course, I’ve been thinking about what makes me credible as an instructor. In my corporate training it’s easy. All my work comes from word of mouth and recommendations. My clients meet me and discuss what they need before we start working together so we have a relationship and we build trust.
The online world is a different beast entirely. It’s a world where you don’t have the benefit of managing first impressions. People find what they find and make up their minds – and once that is done, the biases tick away in the background. In the world of cognitive biases, the story has to be simple. It can’t be messy. It has to make sense on its own, not be made sense of. We don’t like contradictions and we don’t like things that happen without reason. We like cause and effect. Good people. Bad people. Winners. Losers.
Over the last 24 hours, I started thinking about my story – or at least the online parts. They don’t fit together well. This isn’t a coherent story – the woman who tells other people how to master their habits and improve their lives is also a woman who used to drink too much and seems a bit all-over-the-place? No thanks!
So I thought the best thing to do would be to take the blogs down. Remove all traces. My reader numbers are tiny. Nobody would even notice and I could launch my course knowing it’s good and not give anyone reason to doubt that fact.
Then I thought about the dent I’m hoping to make in the world. By the time I die, I hope to have changed the way we interact with each other. I hope to make schools and workplaces the kind of environments where people can do their best thinking and put forward the best of themselves and I think it starts with all of us being able to trust in the possibility of paradox; the possibility that people can fly in one area of life and crash in another. People can be good and do bad things, be 100% committed to something and fail, make mistakes without being wrong, be incredibly generous and horribly selfish simultaneously.
I realise I’m making my business life more difficult by making the paradoxes of my own life so apparent but it feels like a good first step in making my contribution to the conversation about acceptance, open-mindedness and the chance to see the whole story, even when the pieces don’t fit together well.
So here I am, posting on Day 35 and I’ll return 65 more times to tell this part of my story.