The answer to this question is a resounding, maybe. After all, who’s to say that your particular cognitive biases aren’t actually pushing you forward? The important thing to realize is that, no matter what, every human always enter every situation with biases. We filter everything we see through the prism of what we’ve experienced before. It is through this process that some people become pessimistic and others become optimistic in specific situations.
An individual with a pessimistic cognitive bias toward business opportunities is almost never aware of it. Even in those rare cases where they are self-aware enough to recognize that they tend to focus more on the raincloud than the rainbow, when decision making time comes along these people usually put their focus on the raincloud anyway. As a result they tend not to put themselves in the greatest position to succeed. Then, in the manner of all self-fulfilling prophesies, when they don’t succeed they file the experience away as further proof that business opportunities are rigged against them. As a result, people with these sorts of bias are definitely held back. What they seldom realize is that they are the force holding them back is one that they are creating.
Where could we look if we wanted to find people with the opposite bias? Thomas Edison seems like a great example. It’s well known that he failed many more times than he succeeded. The twist is that Edison interpreted those failures in a positive way. He said, “Now I know one more way that my idea won’t work.” Can you see how empowering it was for Edison to look at the world in this way? He set the rules up in a way that […]