I had never seen this Wikipedia entry on cognitive biases (there’s also a good related entry on buyer decision processes here). I’ve found that keeping these pitfalls in mind really helps one when problem solving.
In many of my roles I’ve dealt with problem projects and people. But while I’m good at fixing broken things, that skill is a mixed blessing.
The reason is that something in my nature makes it easier to focus on the negative than the positive. This trait stems from my desire to control and conquer things. In that light, problems can seem more interesting than things that are working well. The sense of satisfaction of “making things right” is much greater than “keeping things right”, at least for me.
That attitude can infect my day-to-day life. I must consciously cultivate gratitude for what I have now, today. Otherwise, I quickly become restless, irritable, and discontented. I start looking around for broken things to fix; or even worse, I start breaking things so that I have something to fix .
Just doing something as simple as stopping for a second and asking “What am I grateful for now?” is enough to break that destructive chain.
Very cool story (here) about an artist — Harriett Russell — who decided to test just how dedicated the Royal Mail really was to getting her posts delivered.
[She concealed] the addresses of 130 letters to herself in a series of increasingly complex puzzles and ciphers. Among the disguises she employed were dot-to-dot drawings, anagrams and cartoons…. Amazingly, only 10 failed to complete their journey back to her.
I loved to hear just how seriously the postmen and women took their job. One particularly clever challenge — the address as a series of crossword clues — came back “Solved by the Glasgow Mail Centre.”
Apparently this correspondence of sorts will be featured in a new book, Envelopes: A Puzzling Journey Through the Royal Mail.