Identify Bias, Make Progress

Let’s talk about bias, shall we?  Specifically, let’s talk about the difference between recognizing a bias, reacting to a bias, and over reacting to a bias.

We shan’t continue unless we recognize that everyone has a bias.  There is always bias.  I believe we should reflect on our own interests so that we may recognize these biases and provide for the opportunity  to respond to these biases.  What the hell is making me think of this?

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I’m currently listening to the e-book “You Are Not So Smart” on Audible, and my extremely short book report thus far is that everything we do is biased, and everything is an assumption; the title “You Are Not So Smart” is accurate.  They even made a fancy trailer for the book:

Awesome. What does this mean for you?

Very little, if you don’t apply it.  There’s always a bias, and while this little piece of psychology fascinates me, it’s vastly more important that we recognize our own biases, and account for them when necessary.

Take for example, what would happen if I was a personal trainer who participated in distance running events each weekend.  10k’s, half marathons, full marathons, I’m all about improving my splits.  I may likely include a good deal of running in the training of my clients, encourage their own physical activity, and refer to running a good deal.  Let’s prepare for the local Turkey Run!  A 5k!  Want to do a mud run?!  Running is the best?!

What if I was a competitive powerlifter who trained other powerlifters?  You better squat your pants off, dammit!  Box squats, benching, and heavy deadlifts for everyone!  This is how we train!

I could teach pilates, and tell you that breathing and feeling a toning stretch is the most important thing ever.

I could be Tracy Anderson and wave my hands in the air all day.

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We each have inherent biases, and in recognizing them, we can do a better job of being honest with ourselves about what motivates us, and about being honest to the people we’re working with.

For example, I like lifting heavy things, and while I believe that everyone should include an emphasis on getting stronger, I recognize that this doesn’t always need to include lifting heavy shit.  I also like playing drums, and I can get pretty sweaty when I play, but I can recognize that playing drums isn’t exactly the most arduous workout ever.

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You can’t fool me.  Those drumsticks definitely aren’t balanced.  Also, what the hell is going on with those spines?  Ouch.

We are biased.  We make assumptions.  Resistance is futile, and it’s impossible to avoid this.  However, it IS possible to recognize this and make an attempt to address it as much as necessary.  As much as possible would lead the run-lovers to max effort squat everyone, the Pilates people to fly through their sequences, and the powerlifters to time rest intervals with a heart rate monitor.

(Those all may have a place, but let’s ignore that for now.)

Recognizing our own biases is an extremely important skill, one that we should all strive to develop.  As we refine this ability we can better work on making progress for ourselves, our family, and our friends.

Reflect on what you do, why you do it, and how it makes you feel.  Identify bias.  Great start.

Is this a bias that you need to respond to?  Would that response be an overreaction?  Where will the pendulum swing next?

That’s up to you.

 

 

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