Picture 2050. Has the war over scarce resources begun yet? Is this all happening during an Ice Age brought on by global warming?
In their book “Abundance,” Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler offer a counter-narrative to the doom and gloom you’re so used to hearing.
They explain that there are cutting-edge technologies in the works that will soon give us the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every human being on the planet. This is a future we need not fear. In fact, we are on the brink of an extremely exciting chapter of humanity that will change all of our lives for the better.
And yet, we have a really hard time believing it. As it turns out, we are actually programmed not to.
As human beings, we simply do not have all the information required to come to fully informed decisions. Therefore, we must rely on what is called heuristics, which are cognitive shortcuts: “Time-saving, energy-saving rules of thumb that allow us to simplify the decision-making process.”
Heuristics are necessary, but sometimes they make us fall victim to cognitive biases, which are errors in thinking that affect the decisions and judgments we make.
In the book, Diamandis and Kotler discuss four cognitive biases that are a huge factor in our inability to process information that may be contradictory to our existing understanding of the world.
The first step in shifting our mindsets is learning what these cognitive biases are so we can challenge them:
What it is: A tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs, while giving disproportionally less consideration to contrary material.
For example: Only believing articles that support your favorite political figure while discounting or not even reading ones from opposing points of view.
What it is: News of a negative nature has a greater impact on one’s psychological state than neutral or positive things.
For example: Receiving feedback from work that was almost entirely positive except for one piece of constructive criticism, but still dwelling on the latter.
What it is: Turning the first piece of information you receive into the reference point.
For example: Researching the average price of an item, and assuming the first value you come across is in fact the average that you should compare against all other prices you find.
What it is: The tendency to do or believe things because others do.
For example: Buying an unnecessary electronic simply because everyone else is doing it.
These cognitive biases come as a result of not having perfect information of the world. And the trouble is, that may always be the case. The good news is that if we are conscious of these mind traps, we can train ourselves to be open to contrary evidence. Let’s consider this counter-narrative of abundance despite our immediate inclination to be suspicious of it.
We recently brought in Peter Diamandis to discuss what the future will look like, and how we might prepare for it: