Cognitive Biases and Success Heuristics

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This lesson introduces and discusses both Cognitive Biases and Success Heuristics, what they are, why they are used as a self-development tool, and to prepare your knowledge base for future lessons in this course.


As we’ve previously discussed in the last lesson, a lot of our thinking happens under the radar, and we react habitually, even automatically, to most of the challenges we are confronted with every day. The problem is that this type of thinking is that it is prone to error, we can react or make decisions as we always have done, and often we don’t always realise that our thinking process has gone wrong or that we are making poor decisions.

Sometimes we also lack the knowledge, training, or experience to think better, whereas sometimes we react with learned responses that just don’t work in the situations we are in.

Two Ways to Improve Your Thinking

There are two simple ways you can improve the way you think, either you can stop thinking poorly, and you can start thinking better. 

If you believe that how you think affects the decisions you make, you can therefore learn how to stop making poor decisions and then start making better decisions in your life as your thinking process improves. 

We are now going to discuss the concepts underpinning thinking processes a little further and introduce you to a few new terms and concepts that we will use throughout the course.

Cognitive Biases

The first thing I’m going to discuss further is what is known as a ‘cognitive bias’, a cognitive bias is defined as a distortion in how you think. 

The principle is that by understanding your cognitive biases, you can learn how to remove some of the errors in your thinking processes. This will therefore help you to make better decisions by avoiding some of the bad decisions you could be making if you are being influenced by that particular bias.

Success Heuristics

The second concept is what I call ‘success heuristics’. Unlike cognitive biases, these are not where your thinking has gone wrong. But instead, Success Heuristics are ways you can think better in a given situation. 

Success heuristics are thinking patterns and improved ways of thinking that can lead to success rather than failure. In the course, we have modelled these success heuristics on the thinking models successful people use to succeed time and time again when confronted by a particular problem. 

Just like how we often make poor decisions without knowing when exposed to cognitive biases, we also don’t always see how we can improve what we are doing until we are shown a better way (or a better success heuristic). Lesson by lesson in our courses, we will show you examples of where mentally you could be going astray and getting things wrong, as well as introduce you could improve your situation by thinking better.

We will introduce you to specific cognitive biases and teach you how to think to correct these errors in your thinking in the hope of stopping you from making some of the poor decisions you could be prone to make if you were to think in this way. 

We will also give you the success heuristics to help you to think better and make better decisions when facing some of the common problems most people face.

Cognitive Biases and Success Heuristics in the Real World

Throughout the course, I will use real examples of cognitive biases to show you where they can distort how you see the world, where they could be causing you to make poor decisions in your life, or where your thinking process could be holding you back.

When you correct some of your cognitive biases, it will help you see your life with more clarity, get unstuck from some of the problems that you just can’t seem to get rid of, and maybe stop you from making those same mistakes again and again.

Learning the correct success heuristics means you will develop better mental shortcuts, habits, and behaviours that will improve your outcome when faced with certain problems. Rather than not getting things wrong, success heuristics can be seen as just the things you need to do to get things right; they are the ‘rules of thumb’ that work for people just like you to help them succeed.

Learning Points

  • Cognitive biases distort how you think, they can stop you from thinking clearly, and they can make you make poor decisions.
  • Success Heuristics can teach you how to think better in a given situation.
  • Cognitive Biases and Success heuristics 2help us highlight ways you can improve how you think.
  • By thinking better, you will learn how to see your way out of the common problems that can hold people back.
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