The Evil Self-Serving Bias

Day 134/365: You have this “disease”, but you can control it.

Photo by Andrew Worley on Unsplash

I’m a Psychology student and a lot of these articles will be about the stuff that I find interesting in my classes. It’s almost like I’m taking you to class with me, but only for the interesting parts.

Today, I learned about something called the self-serving bias and I found that it’s not just a thing, but it’s the thing that keeps most of us away from achieving a goal like losing weight. I know it applies to me, so it might be true for you too. What’s the self-serving bias?

Self-serving bias is “a tendency to attribute our positive outcomes to internal causes and our negative outcomes to external causes”

If that makes little sense, let me ask you this: how many times have you said the sentences below while trying to lose weight?

-I lost 3 more pounds! This summer is going to be my summer! 
-We are gonna go out and I’ll blow my calories this Valentines Day. 
-What an awesome workout that was — I made it all the way through! 
-Damn it, it’s raining hard. No gym today, so my workout is ruined!

It really is simple. You do good, and you immediately say it was all you. You do bad, and you in an instance say it was all because of this and that and him and her.

A student who does badly on an exam will be more likely to blame some other factor like not having enough time to study or not enough time for the test on his or her failure. Conversely, a student that does well on the same exam will compliment his or her own abilities and intelligence for the success.

A self-serving bias… of cake!

The same principle is extremely common with weight loss “patients”. Most of us blame the weather, the gym, the video, someone else, or the food that had no right to be present in the fridge in the middle of the night, but never ourselves for our bad decisions. These things never help, but simply come as a mental “proof” that we do the best we can and that’s that.

In order to avoid this bias, which by the way is bad and there are like hundreds of them, you have to remember that self-serving bias does actually serve a purpose. The reason people do this is as a means to preserve self-confidence and attitude. If we sat around and blamed ourselves for every tiny thing that happened to us — we’d be rather depressive, wouldn’t we?

Blaming is not good for your mental health

But, we do need to remember we cannot blame everyone else for our negatives and we definitely cannot take credit for all that is good. Yes — all those factors listed play against what you are trying to do, but they are nothing more than factors.

Bad things happen and sometimes it’s your fault. You do not have to eat cake just because someone brings you a piece from a coworker’s retirement party.

You cannot blame the vector, but can only make the decision to eat or not eat the cake. You can actually work out even if it’s snowing outside — it just may not be the workout you had planned for. For positives, you have to appreciate those in your life that helps you achieve your goals. Read more about the self-serving bias on this amazing blog post!

Thank you for your time!

If you want an article like the one above for your blog or website, or any type of content for that matter, you can reach me on my content creator page HERE and we can come up with the best writing piece for you and your business!

My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, Full-time Freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 47 claps!

I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!

365 Days Writing Challenge: -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12,13,14,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,32,33,34,35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51,52,53,54,55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71,72,73,74,75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91,92,93,94,95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107,108,109,110,111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121,122,123,124, 125,126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133