Why you make terrible life choices

In a classic experiment, Princeton and Dartmouth students were shown a game between the two schools. At the end, Princeton students remembered more fouls committed by Dartmouth, and Dartmouth students remembered more fouls committed by Princeton.

You seek evidence that confirms your beliefs because being wrong sucks. Being wrong means you’re not as smart as you thought. So you end up seeking information that confirms what you already know.

When you walk into every interaction trying to prove yourself right, you’re going to succumb to confirmation bias-the human tendency to seek, interpret and remember information that confirms your own pre-existing beliefs.

Researchers studied two groups of children in school. The first group avoided challenging problems because it came with a high risk of being wrong. The second group actively sought out challenging problems for the learning opportunity, even though they might be wrong. They found that the second group consistently outperformed the first.

Focus less on being right and more on experiencing life with curiosity and wonder. When you’re willing to be wrong, you open yourself up to new insights.

Lakshmi Mani