You’re not always right and things are not always black and white. Avoid cognitive distortions that may skew your perception.
Read about 15 common types of distorted thinking:
1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.
2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.
3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.
Have you ever stood in the supermarket, deciding between two different types of toothpaste, when suddenly you realize you’ve been there for ten minutes? Here’s how you’re being tricked into thinking small decisions are actually important.
Jonah Lehrer over at Wired describes this exact experience and seeks out an explanation. It turns out, when we have a lot of options put in front of us, decisions become more difficult — and we associate that difficulty with the importance of the decision. Scientists Aner Sela and Jonah Berger explain:
Our central premise is that people use subjective experiences of difficulty while making a decision as a cue to how much further time and effort to spend. People generally associate important decisions with difficulty. Consequently, if a decision feels unexpectedly difficult, due to even incidental reasons, people may draw the reverse inference that it is also important, and consequently increase the amount of time and effort they expend. Ironically, this process is particularly likely for decisions that initially seemed unimportant because people expect them to be easier.
The two researchers demonstrated this idea through a study that showed harder-to-read fonts actually made people think a decision was more important—simply because it required more brainpower to make.
There’s not much you can do to fix this, but it’s something to keep in mind next time your’e at the supermarket. When you realize you’ve been standing there for over 30 seconds, think to yourself: “is the decision between these two brands of deodorant really important?” The answer’s probably no.
Read more at: Wired
Coming up with ideas isn’t too difficult, but finding the right one can be a challenge. Even worse, following an idea that just isn’t good enough can lead to disaster. Focusing on one idea at a time can help you weed out the bad:
“Good ideas are a dime a dozen” or “execution is everything” are popular phrases entrepreneurs roll off their tongues when asked, “Do ideas matter?” While I provisionally agree with both statements, it’s just not so black and white. Both phrases are rather misleading. Ideas don’t simply materialize out of thin air, and not every idea is worth your time. As popular as it is to dismiss the thought of coming up with a good idea — you know, because it requires sitting around, thinking and suspending activity — it’s critical to focus on one idea at a time, preferably your “I’m in Love Idea.”
Without that focus, Fry suggests you’re in danger of entertaining ideas that seem good but don’t mean all that much to you. If you’re not sure—if you’re not in love with the idea—you’re better off letting it go. Whether you break up with your idea or fall madly in love with it, when considering the idea don’t let it just sit in your head. As Ze Frank points out, it’s better to let the ideas out and see what happens rather than keeping them in your head (where they’ll turn into brain crack).
But what about execution?
While execution is far from everything — despite the nice ring to the slogan — a better way to phrase it would be that an “I’m in Love Idea” isn’t going to do the work for you.
For more details on Fry’s idea shaping, check out the full post at: Idea Shaping