Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the category “Vision and Goal Setting”

Evolutionary rationale for positive illusions.

Johnson and Fowler offer a fascinating explanation for why 70% of us (and 90% of college professors) feel we are above average in physical skills, intelligence, leadership, importance to our groups, driving skills, healthiness of our behavior, etc. etc. The authors make the striking suggestion that biased self-beliefs can actually lead people to make the right decision, whereas unbiased self-images would lead to a suboptimal decision. In their model overconfident populations are evolutionarily stable over a more wide range of environments than realistic populations, and they suggest this “may help to explain why overconfidence remains prevalent today, even if it contributes to hubris, market bubbles, financial collapses, policy failures, disasters and costly wars.” Here is their abstract:

Confidence is an essential ingredient of success in a wide range of domains ranging from job performance and mental health to sports, business and combat. Some authors have suggested that not just confidence but overconfidence—believing you are better than you are in reality—is advantageous because it serves to increase ambition, morale, resolve, persistence or the credibility of bluffing, generating a self-fulfilling prophecy in which exaggerated confidence actually increases the probability of success. However, overconfidence also leads to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations and hazardous decisions, so it remains a puzzle how such a false belief could evolve or remain stable in a population of competing strategies that include accurate, unbiased beliefs. Here we present an evolutionary model showing that, counterintuitively, overconfidence maximizes individual fitness and populations tend to become overconfident, as long as benefits from contested resources are sufficiently large compared with the cost of competition. In contrast, unbiased strategies are only stable under limited conditions. The fact that overconfident populations are evolutionarily stable in a wide range of environments may help to explain why overconfidence remains prevalent today, even if it contributes to hubris, market bubbles, financial collapses, policy failures, disasters and costly wars.

via Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Evolutionary rationale for positive illusions..

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The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through – Peter Bregman – Harvard Business Review

“handoff checklist” — questions that the person handing off work must ask the person taking accountability for delivery:

Handoff Checklist

  1. What do you understand the priorities to be?
  2. What concerns or ideas do you have that have not already been mentioned?
  3. What are your key next steps, and by when do you plan to accomplish them?
  4. What do you need from me in order to be successful?
  5. Are there any key contingencies we should plan for now?
  6. When will we next check-in on progress/issues?
  7. Who else needs to know our plans, and how will we communicate them?

via The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through – Peter Bregman – Harvard Business Review.

Questioning Yourself as a Higher form of Talking to Yourself?

So a personal sea-change moment? A shift in beliefs?

Search for ‘vision and goal-setting’ on this blog. Look at my ‘About’ page and you will see, ‘my long-term passion is to investigate the relationship between the conscious mind and other-than-consciousness in relation to vision and goal-setting.’ I was driven to start blogging through a belief that there was something very powerful in strong self-affirmations. Create the vision of success, get your other-than-conscious aligned and off you go. Job done. So what is making me question this?

Jonah Lehrer in the Frontal Cortex describes an anagram-solving experiment by Ibrahim Senay and Dolores Albarracin which compares “interrogative self-talk” with “declarative self-talk”: so the apparently weaker ‘will I solve these anagrams?’ compared to the stronger ‘I will solve these anagrams’. I’ve always thought of myself as an ‘I will’ kind of man. I’m clear on what I’d like from my future without being blind to the randomness of fate. I’ve always thought this to be the best way of operating.

In the experiment however, results confound this expectation as Lehrer explains, Read more…

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