5 Ways How Your Mind Prevents Your Success and How to Deal With Them

StartUppers, beginners of all sorts, and the rest of the humanity as well, do you know what is one of the biggest hindrances on your path to success?

It is not the lack of experience, money, or time. It is your own mind.

Your mind is a dangerous enemy because it is omnipresent, sly, and what is even worse — incredibly sneaky.

When you do not have time you can always rearrange your life or enhance your time management skills. When you don’t have money, you can find investors, ask your relatives for a favor, or take a credit. When you lack experience, you can take some time and educate yourself.

But, when your own mind pokes the sticks into your spoke… well then, you are quite defenseless.

A mind may disrupt your decisions, undermine your actions, and corrupt your ways of thinking with his invisible tools, and you will not even notice this. Mind’s tools are its internal flaws, ingrained so deeply into our way of thinking that we cannot recognize their effect, without knowing where to search.

These flaws are known as cognitive biases.

They are like bugs in a code, you can locate them only if you know for sure how they behave and how they affect your program.

So, if you want to avoid irrational or odd decisions that may prevent you from building a successful project, starting a new life on Monday, or simply shaping an unbiased opinion, you should learn about these flaws.

  1. Survivorship bias.

Survivorship bias occurs when a person concentrates on people or things that succeeded, ignoring all the others that did not.

Survivorship bias is a very prevalent logical error. Media of all sorts stimulates people with hundreds of stories of success, and people start to believe that these stories demonstrate the universal formula for achieving desired goals.

For instance, there is a prevalent notion that higher education is redundant as there is a lot of bright and loud examples of wealthy and successful individuals who dropped out of college. The stories of people who dropped but failed remain in shadows, because these stories are not appealing enough and simply… average.

In reality, people with higher education tend to make more money than people without the one.

In order to avoid this bias remember: Don’t scrutiny stories of success. Analyze the stories of failures instead, and try to determine the factors that contributed to the failures. By doing so, you will be able to determine the weak spots of your idea as well as improve your analysis skills.

2. Ambiguity Effect

Ambiguity effect appears when a lack of information affects a person’s decision-making. An individual favors options that he or she has more information about neglecting the rest.

For example, an entrepreneur decides between two possible partners. He or she is well informed about the first one but knows very little about the second. As a result, the entrepreneur chooses the first partner even though the second option may be more beneficial.

As you see, the ambiguity effect prevents people from taking risks. Sometimes, it is a proper strategy. However, in the world of business, some risks are obligatory for success.

In order to avoid this bias remember: Don’t ignore options that appear ambiguous to you as they may be more advantageous than the apparent ones. Take some time and analyze the options, consult with people who know better, try to predict all the possible outcomes, and only then, make your decision.

Risk. But to it wisely.

3. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is a tendency to seek information that confirms our established beliefs and hypotheses. This bias feeds on our fear to realize that our beliefs have been false all the way.

A primitive example. A person has a bright idea to create an app that will sell stuff online. The person wholeheartedly believes that it is a demanded product. In order to confirm his or her belief and silence that quiet subconscious voice of self-doubt, the person will surf the Internet in search of articles that describe the relevance and profitability of E-commerce applications. However, the individual completely ignores that one article that states that there are already 5 similar applications in his or her region, and one of them just went bankrupt because of low demand.

So the person decides to proceed with the project. A result? A ton of spent money and an endless frustration.

In order to avoid this bias remember: it is completely normal to make mistakes. In fact, there is no progress without mistakes and realization of this mistakes. Therefore, each time a person ignores a mistake, he or she conforms to repeating the same error over and over again.

Don’t be afraid to double check your opinions. Learn how to search credible information. Consider and evaluate opposite opinions. And be proud of yourself every time you manage to acknowledge your false belief and give it up.

Improve.

4. Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is when people prefer avoiding losses to acquiring results. In other words, “the pain of losses is twice as much as the pleasure of gains.”

Therefore, our mind strives to avoid a loss at any cost even if it means losing a possibility to earn twice as much. For example, an investor who works with a certain industry may not invest in other industries only because of the fear to lose money even if other industries are fast-growing.

In order to avoid this bias remember: gaining results is more valuable than avoiding losses. We should spend our time and efforts on improving and not holding on to the past. Learn to tolerate losses as a loss means that you are trying.

5. Bias Blind Spot

Bias blind spot is an inability to recognize the fact that you are affected by biases while noticing how it impacts the judgment of others.

It is difficult to find a person without the blind spot bias. For example, in one study, “in a sample of more than 600 residents of the United States, more t than 85% believed they were less biased than the average American. Only one participant believed that he or she was more biased than the average American.”

In order to avoid this bias remember: you are not immune to biases. As human beings, we are inherently flawed. However it should not terrify you as we have an amazing ability to improve. In order to grow, we should realize our internal bugs, accept the fact that we are far from perfect, and then, do our best to eradicate them. By doing so, we are becoming more humane, open-minded, and intelligent.

Conclusion.

When you deal with business analysis as closely as our company does, it is essential to be aware of this biases in order to know when they may affect decisions. You have to develop a subconscious “immune” response to them, constantly reminding yourself that the mind is flawed and can easily deceive you into wrong thinking patterns.

Regardless of the millions of years the evolution has been shaping the human mind, which eventually allowed people to become the dominant species on the planet, people still have a long road to endure.

Written by Mykhailo Bogdan