3 Simple Steps To Help You Overcome Outcome Bias

How shifting your focus to your decision-making can reduce its impact

Darren Matthews

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Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

We all curse a bad result.

And then we excuse it; “It was just a bad decision.”

We do the same when the outcome is one we want. We excel at rewarding — or punishing our ego, not for the choice we make, but for the outcome we end up with.

Why do we do this?

When we make a decision, we have control.

Outcomes though, are different. They are prone to influences you don’t have control over. Other people’s choices, and entropy — along with all the randomness and uncertainty it generates create outcomes we don’t always want.

To make ourselves comfortable with what we can’t control — and what we can, we gloss over it. Or rather a cognitive bias called outcome bias does. It’s an attempt to airbrush history into one where we deny the reality of what we don’t control.

Unfortunately, this ‘airbrushing’ also denies us an objective assessment of something we do control.

Our decisions.

Knowing this creates a problem. How do we ensure we are making good decisions, and not let outcome bias blind us?

In truth, our biases will do what they do. But what you can do is ensure your approach to decision-making is as robust as it can be.

It begins will willpower.

The Importance of Your Willpower Reservoir

Your mind has a limited amount of mental energy to make decisions.

Most of your choices aren’t conscious ones. They are intuitive ones, and even though you don’t consciously think about them, they still drain you of mental energy.

Compounding this, are the conscious decisions you make.

Today, you will make more conscious decisions than your parents — and even their parents.

Even worse, most of them are insignificant.

Consider:

  • What to watch on TikTok
  • What to watch on TV
  • What to wear

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Darren Matthews

I’m utterly curious about decision-making | Sharing lessons learned from the thousands of decisions I’ve studied and made | Founder https://www.resolve.blog