In our last blog post we discussed how faulty inductive reasoning can induce bad decisions that have costly consequences, both in dollars and opportunity costs.
Here is an approach to avoid falling into that trap.
First, know that inductive reasoning is normal. It’s part of our survival mechanism. Our brains are wired to project single, or limited occurrences onto a larger group of people or circumstances that seem to have similar appearances or behaviors to the one in question.
Since you will always be tempted to act inductively, the time to get out of that trap is immediately after you have the thought, but before you take any action to either act on it or use it as a tool to guide future actions.
One effective way to approach those situations is to force yourself to shift your perspective from inductiveto deductive reasoning. In deductive reasoning you go from general assumptions/observations to specific conclusions.
For example you might say: any employee that is addicted to video games and plays them during working hours will not be a good employee for us. John is addicted to video games; he will not be a good fit for us. Notice that the connecting arguments that provide the foundation for your decision are based on specific behaviors attributable to individuals – not groups. And there is no connection between a person’s date of birth and your basis for a decision.
This approach requires awareness and practice. But it’s worth beginning now. The costs of not doing it are too great to be ignored.
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