GOTO 2019 • Thinking Fast and Slow • Linda Rising
- Linda Rising
- @risinglinda on twitter
- lindarising on linkedin
21:30 - The worst cognitive biases (in Linda's opinion):
- Confirmation bias: tendency to search for, interpret, favor, recall (it affects memory) information to confirm our beliefs. We seek confirmation, not information.
- Cognitive dissonance: struggle to hold two disconfirming ideas at the same time.
- Naïve realism: belief that we are rational and those who disagree with us only need "facts" to see our side.
The result: severe limitations on thought
- Excessive confidence in what we believe we know.
- Inability to acknowledge the extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty in the world.
- Overestimate how much we understand about the world and underestimate the role of chance (randomness) in events. We like "patterns" and explanations.
System 2 - 26:22
- When fully engaged can only focus for 50 minutes (max) before taking a break.
28:50 - How we learn
- New skills are acquired by System 2. With practice/experience, we can move them to System 1 as they become automatic and we become an expert.
- Examples: walking, driving, playing a musical instrument, engaging in a sport.
- When we "overthink" in a domain where we have skill, we can get in the way of our expertise.
31:40 - Models != reality
- Kahneman's model is an abstraction.
- "All models are wrong but some are useful" - George Box, statistician.
- Kahneman's model is based on behavior. It has nothing to do with the brain's anatomy.
32:12 - The Elephant Metaphor
"Your mind is like an elephant with a rider" - Jonathan Haidt & Heath Brothers.
- Rider = rational mind
- Elephant = emotional mind
- Path = environmental factors
Who's in charge?
It's the elephant. The elephant goes where it wants to go. So if you, the rider/rational mind wants to choose the path, talk to the elephant.
Make it easy to the elephant to do what you want it to do.
When communicating with someone who disagrees with you: talk to the elephant!
To influence people: make the path (the environment, the context) as easy as possible. Make your choice the default. In Fearless Change, this is the pattern "Easier Path".
System 2 takes energy. Don't wast limited conscious effort.
Limitations of System 2
- We have a limited pool of "mental energy"
- This is why conscious multi-tasking is impossible for us
- This is why we make bad decisions when we are tired or hungry
- This is why we need breaks
Systems 1 and 2 working together
- System 2 normally is in a comfortable low-effort mode, using a fraction of its capacity.
- System 1 continuously generates suggestions: impressions, intuitions, impulses, intentions, feelings. If endorsed by System 2, impressions and intuitions become beliefs; impulses become voluntary actions.
- When all goes smoothly (most of the time) System 2 adopts System 1's suggestions.
- When System 1 has difficulty, it calls on System 2 for processing.
- Who's in charge? System 1, of course!
- System 2 believes it runs the show, but System 1 is in charge.
- It's good to have System 1 in charge of stuff -- it would be overwhelming handling every single detail with System 2.
System is a limited resource, don't waste it.
Make life simpler
You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits, [Obama] said. I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.
My problem-solving approach
- Define problem. Say it out loud, write it down.
- Enough data?
- Invest minimal amount of time solving it (possibly adjust answers to 1 & 2) - no more than 10 min.
- If solution is not forthcoming, leave it (one or more of the following) - incubation:
- work on another task
- stand up/sit down, stretch
- bio break
- longer break, e.g. exercise, meal, errand, sleep
- If no insight, repeat steps.
- System 1 is not always "right". System 2 makes final decision.
You may have more knowledge, data, information than you realize. It's better to go ahead with what you have than to wait for a complete understanding, which may never come and might not be necessary.
Remember: System 1 is already working on it.
"I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulsive decisions than most people in business." - Warren Buffett.
- water, tea, coffee available
- standing, moving should be OK
- very small groups - walking meetings
- limit meeting time to 45 min - for longer meetings take a different seat after breaks
- 10 minute break before important decisions
Ask System 1 questions and wait for an answer, e.g. "How can I find more time for practicing?"
The answer, when it comes, may not be definitive, but can suggest a small experiment that likely leads to more questions and more experiments.
This process never ends.