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Think about it.
We all talk about change. Flexibility and adaptive power leading you to success. Creating the best version of yourself. Improving your personal performance day after day. But honestly. Don’t you feel like keeping all things pretty much the same as they are?
Your first thought might be “no”. Think again.
Think about the important real life decisions you are facing right now. Work, life, politics, finances, sports, education, food, health, ethics, love. Or just take a look at your daily routines.
It is inevitable. Commonplace. It is a part of human nature. It is a proven cognitive bias that affects all human decision-making. And with a greater impact comes a greater bias:
We don’t really want the change.
Those of you following me know my personal Big Fish is finding a healthy eating pattern and weight. I hired a personal trainer and work out 4 times a week now. Combined with the healthy food I am losing the kilograms one by one. At the beginning I was fighting the muscle pain and stiffness. But once my body got used to the physical pressure and exercises my mind began to protest. Afraid of losing myself (literally and figuratively). Fighting to remain the status quo.
It is not rational. It is an irrational desire.
We all have this natural tendency to avoid change. Even when our current situation is objectively inferior to the available alternatives. Even when change might bring us better outcomes. Me being healthy. You catching your own Big Fish. We tend to stick to what we have. Look around you. How many people do you know to be unhappy with their jobs or relationships? Why don’t they quit? Start over? Why are they avoiding potential loss instead of pursuing potential gain?
On the other hand, when the only constant is change in your life or company, this becomes the norm. The new status quo.
Food for thought?
I am looking forward to hear your thoughts on how to work around this bias as a human being and/or a leader:
- Are/were you aware of this bias? Does it enhance safe choices or is it crippling?
- How do you reduce the influence of it in your own decision-making process? Work or life.
- How do you reassure your environment to overcome their status quo bias?
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About the author
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself.