We humans have a strong tendency to believe what is presented to us, without applying even a minimum of reflection or logical reasoning. Instead we try to come up with explanations in hindsight, for why we thought it was true.
Here is an entertaining list of April Fool’s Day jokes people actually believed in.
In case you did not know: you can be punished for drinking alcohol while surfing the internet.
Or the fact that in Norway we have two suns. The normal one and the midnight sun.
What You See Is All There Is – WYSIATI
What You See Is All There Is. That is what Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, wrote about in his book “ Thinking, Fast and Slow” . It is about our strong tendency to jump to conclusions based on limited evidence, and information.
The main reason is that such a story is easier for us to understand. And we believe more in what makes sense to us, than complex scenarios that would involve massive brain effort for us to grasp. What we understand easily makes us more convinced that we are right. Not the amount or quality of the evidence.
I have yet to found anyone who does not believe in climate change, who can claim to have any profound knowledge on the subject. Or on how science works at all, for that matter. Overconfidence is, according to Kahneman, a manifestation of WYSIATI.
Therefore, WYSIATI can have dire consequences. From world leaders denying climate change, to public support for Hitler, or any other noxious authoritarian figure.
No human being or sector are vaccinated against What You See Is All There Is. That goes of course for the aid and development sector, as well.
Here are two examples from the excellent “What Went Wrong?” project in Kenya:
“No answer: Kenya’s gender-based violence hotline fails to connect.”
“Promises kept? Residents stranded in temporary shelters after housing project stalls.”
My take is that WYSIATI was very much involved in the failure of these projects.
We need to bear in mind that we are constantly being duped, by ourselves or others, often unintentionally.
Ask yourself, if there might be more to an issue, than what is in front of you. And that some missing information would might alter your opinion or decision all together.
If you constantly surround yourself with people and opinions you agree with, you will become more and more convinced you are right, since you hear and see nothing else.
Little by little it gets increasingly troublesome to read or listen even to those who slightly disagree with you. This aversion might not just be related to a need to be right. The more impenetrable and smaller your own bubble, the more you will fear what is outside that bubble.
We will never be able to make progress and grow as human beings if we do not expose ourselves to disagreement. [Read more…]
“The Leadership Integrity Challenge” by Edward E. Morler is the most important book I have come across in at least a decade. And I am a voracious reader.
The book is about.
The lack of emotional maturity is at the root of all our problems. That is the main message of the book.
The author lists a variety of issues from highway littering, corporate fraud and terrorism to rainforest destruction.
Although our happiness and perhaps very survival demands mature adult judgement and action, we continue to react and behave like insecure self-absorbed adolescents
Unlike many other leadership or personal development books, “The Leadership Integrity Challenge” does not offer any quick and easy remedies. Morler also takes on a much more direct approach than many other authors in this category, which I find invigorating. [Read more…]
“ The maturity of an organisation’s leadership lays the foundation and sets the tone for everything that follows.
Raise emotional maturity and individuals become more secure, discerning, responsible, productive and happy.”
Edward E. Morler – The Leadership Integrity Challenge.
I started pondering on this article on 21st January, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day. My intention was to write about a highly mature being, mentioned that day in the press or other media, who somehow carries the legacy of King’s ideas.
After an hour or two of browsing and scrolling, I was not able to find a single example.
What I did come across, were numerous illustrations of the opposite.
One of them was a note in a Swedish newspaper on a United Nations’ predicament. It is not my intention to constantly find fault with that institution. But this blog’s focus is on maturity; and the UN is, unfortunately, an easy pick, with an abundance of stories on immaturity to choose among. [Read more…]
In my last blog post, I stressed the importance of showing Nature the gratitude it deserves.
A gratitude encompassing all animals, plants, insects and microbes,
for giving us air, water and food.
Most of us understand that Nature is not just something to exploit natural resources from. However, we also need to stop looking at it merely as a source of recreation, an object to benefit from.
Instead, we should ask ourselves: “How can I serve nature?” Not just nature serving us. [Read more…]
It is easy to feel overwhelmed or in a state of panic considering all the bad news pouring in about the state of the world.
Recently, World Wildlife Fund launched their annual Living Planet Report. According to the report, vertebrates (animals with backbones) have declined by 60 per cent in 40 years.
We cannot survive without nature, and we are part of it, whether we live on Greenland or in a skyscraper in a mega city. Nature is not something “out there”. [Read more…]
The more or less only thing international media reported on during the recent election campaign in Sweden, was the increased support for the right-wing party, the Swedish Democrats. How could this happen? In harmonic, prosperous Sweden? The home of ABBA and IKEA?
The obvious answer is, of course, the huge amount of migrants from, mainly, Muslim countries. This peaked during 2015. But Sweden has received many thousands of refugees from, among others, Iraq in the years before that. Too many of the migrants have not integrated well into society. With high unemployment, crime gangs and burning cars as a result. [Read more…]
Watching the final debate between the leaders of the political parties in Sweden, my reflection was a very different one from the one that was dominant in the media.
I started to imagine what it would be like for someone in a country like Guatemala, to follow the Swedish election campaign.
For those of you who are not updated: Sweden held its national elections two weeks ago. The mayor, governing party since World War II has been the Social Democratic party. And in later decades interchangeably, centre-right coalitions. What was new this year was the increased support for the anti-immigration party, the Swedish Democrats. The only sensational thing happening in responsible, but oh so dull Swedish politics for decades.
I have lived in Guatemala, but it is just an example of a country that is officially a democracy. But where power and wealth are in the hands of a minor elite, while larger parts of the population live in poverty. Corruption and impunity is rife. Most people on this planet live in malfunctioning countries like that; or in countries where you are not even able to vote.