You’re the Worst, I Have Proof

paper airplanes.jpg

Have you ever been told “that person can do no wrong in your eyes” or “give the guy another chance, he’s a really nice person”?  This past week I found out that those preconceived notions have a name: Hypothesis Bias or Confirmation Bias.  In the case of someone you may not like, you’ll look for comments, actions and intonations to help support your reason for not liking that said person.  On the other hand, for a person that you’re fond of, you’ll easily gloss over flaws and mistakes simply because that person is held in high esteem.

The trouble comes when there are people with whom you deal with at the office (and at home, but that’s for a different blog) that may have made a mistake or gotten cross ways with you in the past.  You’re now carrying your Hypothesis Bias with you and potentially pre-punishing that employee or coworker for past grievances.  Today, determine who that person is that is receiving the effects of your negative Hypothesis Bias, grab the mental sheet of paper where you’re keeping a list of all the things you don’t like and why you’re entitled to those feelings, fold it up as a paper airplane and toss it out. Now, whip out a bright white sheet of blank paper and start over with that person.
Your Hypothesis Bias may have been preventing you from a great associate and *gasp* potentially a friend whom you had previously dismissed.  Come back and share how it’s going!

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6 Responses to You’re the Worst, I Have Proof

  1. @VSLaurel April 22, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Wow, that sounds hard to do, but I’m sure it would be worth it in the end. Thanks for the idea.

  2. tonyfelice April 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Guilty…

    great advice, thanks, Nan!

  3. thekruser April 25, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I have to say that I am probably the worst person ever about this. I try not to be, but am nonetheless. I think it is far easier to remember the negative things a person does than it is to recount the positive. We should all make the time to take every step possible to irradicate this type of behaviour from our business — and social — lives. The world could be a better place.

    Fantastic article and excellent advise. Thanks, Nan.

  4. Nan Palmero April 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    We all struggle with it, me included. I write this as much for you as I write it for me. Thank you for weighing in, I hope it helps you try again.

  5. Rachel April 28, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    I just mentally handed out blank sheets of paper to (those-that-shall-not-be-named)! That feels great! Now, how can I get them to do the same…

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