summer. Also, guard against ignoring missing information; this is a
general human trait which results in wrong and more extreme
In short, we often jump to wrong conclusions and make false
predictions. We spill our morning juice and conclude we are going to
have a bad day. We may make too much of a smile or a frown. We
may sense sexual attraction where there is none. We see the teacher
as disapproving when he/she is not. Indeed, perhaps the most
common errors of all are our "mental filters" in one of two opposite
directions: negative expectations (of ourselves, of others, or of the
world, as we saw in chapter 6) and excessive optimism. The latter is
sometimes a "oh, no problem" or a "everything will work out fine"
attitude, which is anxiety reducing and advantageous if you still work
diligently on solving the problem. If you neglect the problem, it is an
attitude that will bring you grief.
Gathering all the relevant information before deciding something is
hard work, time consuming, and, often, impossible. We of necessity
must operate most of the time with very limited information; most of
the time incomplete data isn't a serious problem but sometimes it is.
b. Over-simplification and cognitive biases --it is far easier to
have a simple view of a situation, but the simple view is usually wrong,
e.g. "Abortion is either right or wrong!" And we have favorite ways of
being wrong. Examples: we think things are true or false, good or bad,
black or white, but mostly things are complex--gray. We ask, "Is this
leader competent or incompetent?" In reality, there are hundreds of
aspects to any job, so the question is very complex, "How competent
is he/she in each aspect of the job?" You ask, "Will I be happy married
to this person forever?" The answer almost certainly is, "You will be
happy in some ways and unhappy in others." A simple view of life is
appealing, but it isn't real.
For every complex problem, there is a simple answer--and it is wrong!
Yet, humans (especially the experience-based mind) use many
devises to simplify things. The truth is we must interpret so many
situations and events every day, we can't do a thorough, logical
analysis every time. So we make mistakes. If we make too many
misinterpretations, they start to accumulate and our minds go over the
edge and we either become unreasonable in our behavior or we
become emotional--depressed, anger, scared, etc. The more
reasonable we can stay, still using both our rational intelligence and