"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

5 Ways We Lie to Ourselves


Confirmation Bias: We look for evidence that confirms what we already believe and we discount that which makes us uncomfortable. Related to the Belief Bias; evaluating information not on the worthiness or credibility of the source but more upon how we feel (i.e. our beliefs) about the issue at hand.

Framing Bias: aka Blinders Effect: We define a problem or situation too narrowly, we laser in on certain aspects (often the most emotional or dramatic) to the determent of other, more salient aspects.

Self-Serving Bias: The tendency to see success as due to our ability/efforts, failures due to bad luck or outside influences; based upon a need to maintain our self-image/self-esteem and protect our egos. Success has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan; in any success in which multiple groups/individuals participate, each tends to ascribe the lion’s share to themselves.

20/20 Hindsight Bias: aka “I knew it all along”. We forget the uncertainty that existed before the event, now see what happened as predictable, much more inevitable. This bias undermines our future decision making ability and greatly hinders our ability to learn from events.

Attribution Effect: We tend to judge ourselves by our good intentions (internal), others by their behavior (external) or even by the outcome of their actions/behavior whether intended or not. Worse, our fears often lead us to attribute negative motives to what may be benign motivation or unintentional/unforeseen. Or as the cynical saying goes: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

Closing Quotes:

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.” – John Dewey, 1859-1952, philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer

“Your job as a scientist is to figure out how you’re fooling yourself.” – Saul Perlmutter, b. 1959, astrophysicist, professor of physics, Berkeley

“Men judge things according to the disposition of their minds, and had rather imagine things than understand them.” – Baruch Spinoza; 1632-1677; Ethics, appendix to book I 

“When a man finds a conclusion agreeable, he accepts it without argument, but when he finds it disagreeable, he will bring against it all the forces of logic and reason.” – Thucydides, 460-395 BC

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Beware the Halos or Horns Effect


Oh, we humans! We are SO full of cognitive bias (that’s psych speak for “jumping to conclusions”) and we are so often so unaware of our tendencies! We like to think that we think but really we usually make an emotional choice and then go looking for logical justification.

The “Halos or Horns Effect” is the human propensity to carry over associations: if we’ve had a good experience with one aspect of a group or organization or product, we tend to carry over our favorable impression to things related to it. The Halos or Horns Effect works on the negative side as well: we have a bad experience with one member of a group, we often judge the entire group.

Strange as it may seem, within reason, cognitive biases can serve a logical function: the world is complex, we need short cuts, rules of thumb to guide us through; it is impossible, exhausting, to approach every situation de nova. The key is to be remain aware, fully aware, of our tendency toward faulty reasoning, and to periodically step back and examine our internal mental maps of the world to insure that they correctly reflect reality.

Closing Quotes:

“Eliminate as many judgments of others in your thoughts as possible. The simplest, most natural way to accomplish this is to see yourself in everyone.” ― Wayne W. Dyer, 1940-2015, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life

“If there’s something you really want to believe, that’s what you should question the most.”  ― Penn Fraser Jillette; b. 1955, magician/illusionist (Penn & Teller)

“It is an acknowledged fact that we perceive errors in the work of others more readily than in our own.”  ― Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519, 6’4”


As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


The Magic Question That Will Change Your Life


So what is this magical question that can improve the quality of every relationship you are in, every product you produce, every service you deliver, everything you do?

Here it is:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of our relationship (service/product, the meeting we just had? Me as a manager/partner?) during the last week (2 weeks/month/quarter/year/season)?

Any answer less than a 10 gets this follow-up question:

What would it take to make it a 10?

This is where the valuable information comes from. Knowing that a person is dissatisfied is not enough.

Knowing in detail what will satisfy them gives you the information you need to do what is necessary to create a winning product, service, or relationship.

Make it a habit to end every project, meeting, significant interaction with the 2 questions; ask weekly of anyone with whom you are in an important relationship.

*From: Jack Canfield; The Success Principles

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier