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Of our cognitive biases. - Say What? #32

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Hi everyone! I hope everyone's in good health. No matter where in the world you are, please do take p
 
February 9 · Issue #32 · View online
Say What?
Hi everyone!
I hope everyone’s in good health. No matter where in the world you are, please do take precautions in the midst of the novel Corona virus outbreak. Take extra care of your hygiene and avoid crowded places if you can!
In this issue, I wanted to share an article about the cognitive biases that we have in the modern world. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

A friend of mine shared this interesting article on Facebook recently, and I thought I could share some of the thoughts I have about it.
Infographic: 50 Cognitive Biases in the Modern World
So, essentially, cognitive biases refer to how our perception about reality is often clouded by either our past experiences or things that are personal to us and not at all based on facts or figures.
For instance, we might think that someone else would enjoy a movie, just because we enjoyed the movie and not because we know that they enjoy that particular genre of movie.
Or we might think that we can get away with speeding down the highway just because we’ve driven down the same highway for years without getting caught.
It’s just the way our brain and mind works and our pattern of thinking that leads us to these seemingly plausible conclusion, even if it may be wrong.
Some 'fun' cognitive biases, in my opinion.
There are tons of cognitive biases out there, but I just wanted to highlight two biases that I’ve personally been battling, at least for the past few years.
Cognitive bias 1: The Spotlight Effect
The Spotlight effect is about how we, as humans, tend to over-estimate how much people actually care about us. In this world of over-sharing everything on social media, we have the tendency to think that other people will actually care and talk about the things that we do.
There are tons of cognitive biases out there, but I just wanted to highlight a few that I’ve personally been battling, at least for the past few years.
The Spotlight Effect: How to Stop Feeling Self-Conscious – Effectiviology
For instance, someone may think that people would judge them for re-using the same outfit every week, when, in reality, nobody actually paid any attention or remembered their outfit.
This ties in with how we manage and use our social media. I used to be so self-conscious of what I post on my Instagram. Am I using the right filter? Do I look good enough? Wait, I’ve already used this caption before, should I change it? Are people going to care if I post something from a week ago?
When I start feeling self-conscious, I tend to try and take a step back and re-assess the situation. In reality, most people generally don’t really care much about what I post anyway. So why am I putting so much thought into it? Isn’t the purpose of my social media accounts is just to share my thoughts, knowledge and daily snippets of my life to family and friends?
It also helped me to realize that most people would not even remember the small little details or mistakes that I made. This made it easier for me as I have stopped (or at least, reduced) my excessive worries about how it would affect people’s perceptions of me.
Because, essentially, nobody cares that much about you, so why do we bother a lot about what other people think, no? *shrugs*
Cognitive bias 2: The Curse of Knowledge
The Curse of Knowledge leads you to assume that people around you know what you know. This is an interesting one, and one that I’m currently trying to overcome, both in my personal and professional life.
The curse of knowledge: how it impacts you, and what to do about it | UserTesting Blog
A classic example is probably around things that are considered as ‘common sense’. For example, you might know, either from previous experience or from what you’ve read, that people on the London Underground (tube/train stations) would stand on the right of the escalator and allow other people to walk up on the left side.
(we won’t get into the detail on how this might be harmful to the mechanism of the escalator itself, as that’s a totally different story)
But a tourist who came from a different country may not be aware of the stand-right-walk-left rule, and might be confused when they first see the 'rule’ happening. So you might get tourists doing the complete opposite like standing on the left and creating a chaos or disruption to traffic.
You might be thinking, meh, that’s nothing. But, in real life, once you’ve learnt something, it can be hard for you to understand how it is for new learners. The more knowledgeable you are in a certain topic, the harder it may be for you to connect and relate to newbies.
In my own life, I see this happening a lot since I got married to Aiman. I’ve always done things in a certain way, and arrange my clothes in a certain way. When I got married and we moved in to my parents’ house, I’ve assumed that he would know where things are or understand when I told him to 'check the laundry’, when I’ve never actually told him where the laundry are usually hung to dry.
(this was an actual conversation we had on Friday, fyi)
Being aware of the Curse of Knowledge cognitive bias requires me to be more aware of the knowledge and experience that I have and learn to be more patient when dealing with other people. I have to realize and understand that people might not know what I know, and therefore I need to stop assuming and start explaining myself better. This can help avoid any unnecessary stress or problems due to misunderstanding or confusion.
Career services for hire!
I’ve actually been thinking about doing this for a while now, but I keep on saying to myself that “A lot of these things are either available online or people would just know how to do it.
And, yes, that was the Curse of Knowledge bias talking.
After meeting and helping some people with their resume and/or cover letter and talking about careers and employability, I’ve realized that this is not something that everyone is familiar with or confident with. While I personally am in love with everything personal development, not everybody is comfortable with it and needed extra help with it.
So… I decided to just go ahead and do it, because (1) I LOVE all things career-related, (2) it’s a good way to help other people while (3) I get to make some money on the side.
Feel free to share it with your friends and family who might benefit from it! :)
More information on my Twitter thread, please help to RT and share!
More information on my Twitter thread, please help to RT and share!
Signing off for now.
That’s a wrap for now. But, before I leave you this week, I wanted to share one good news from this past week.
I have officially started my new role as a Higher Education Support at the Alice Smith School - Secondary Campus in Taman Equine, Seri Kembangan. My role involves working with the Sixth Form (A-Levels) students and helping them through the whole university admissions process. This includes everything from arranging university fairs and visits, processing transcripts and supporting documents, proofreading personal statements and references, and coordinating various career and higher education interviews with the guidance and career counselors.
It’s been a good first week, Alhamdulillah, and I have a lot to learn and catch up with. But I’m super excited for what the future holds, and this opportunity will allow me to learn more about the world of university admissions and higher education. So, fingers crossed that everything goes well for the next few years, insyaAllah!
Until I see you in two weeks’ time, stay awesome and take care everyone! :)
Love,
Nazu xx
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