6 Biases That Will Kill Your Change Initiative

Change, it is a curse and a blessing. As human beings we abhor it. Yet, as the smartest species on earth, we are in the best position to embrace it. Our very existence depends on our ability to change. Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, put change in perspective when he said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Thomas Friedman in his book, “The World is Flat,” talks about the challenge of change. He claims change is:
• Hard
• Hardest on those caught by surprise
• Hardest on those who have difficulty changing

He points out that our choices regarding change are simple. You are either leading or trailing when it comes to change. If you do not get in front of change, it will leave you behind.

Despite obvious benefits from change and our capacity as human beings to embrace it, our first response to any kind of change is resistance. This recalcitrance is rooted in our fight or flight tendencies inherited from our ancestors and the need for routine and simplicity to live our complicated lives.

There are six biases we have to get a handle on in order to position ourselves to take advantage of the change tsunami.

Hyperbolic Discounting- When presented with two options, we want the immediate option, even though the change option is the best. I know I need to lose weight, but I can’t bring myself to alter my eating habits.

Confirmation Bias- We ignore information that does not conform to our beliefs about our current reality. This is the way I have always eaten in the past, so why should I change my diet now.

Negativity Bias- We give more weight to negative information and less attention to positive data. I know I need to eat a more balanced and nutritious diet but eating healthy is expensive.

System Justification- We will defend and prefer the status quo. Both my parents never exercised a day in their life, and they both lived well into their 90s.

Experience Bias- Our perceptions are always right. My brother went on a diet and joined a gym. He lost 50 pounds in one year and dropped dead of a heart attack a year later.

Endowment Effect- A loss hurts more than a gain feels good. I probably should take advantage of the free well-being services my office offers. I just can’t justify spending additional time at work. My commute is already hell.

The change train has left the station. Have you gotten your ticket? If not, then a changing world may pass you by as the ticket gets more expensive every year. Don’t get priced out of the change market. Reserve your place in the change revolution because the more things change, the more things don’t stay the same.

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