Availability bias, and how meditation is the antidote

One of the most prevalent biases that affects our behavior is the availability bias. As Kahneman explains it, “the world in our heads is not a precise replica of reality; our expectations about the frequency of events are distorted by the prevalence and emotional intensity of the messages to which we are exposed.” It basically says that if something can be recalled, it must be important enough to be considered for decision making. So people tend to heavily weigh their judgments toward more recent information, making new opinions biased toward that latest news.

This has a large number of implications, and occurs most prominently in our changed behavior while making decisions on a daily basis, or our changed preferences immediately after taking in some recent information (despite knowing that those incidents remain as improbable/probable as before) – airline accidents, for eg. But more broadly – in a lot of ways, it also keeps one chained to the past – which is illogical if one thinks about it. Meditation attacks this problem at the core through helping one control the mind. It helps you understand that there is no reason whatsoever to take into account the past to create the future. The two are not going to the related – the present is going to be though.

And then there are the proven benefits of meditation on our brain.  It is probably not a coincidence that the greatest thinkers, innovators either learn to control their mind/thoughts through meditating consciously or have an inborn talent to control it as such. Steve Jobs, Ray Dalio come to mind, and there are countless others too. I guess it helps them reconstruct the world without any limitations.

P.S. I started practicing meditation recently, and the increased focus has been mind boggling. I can only imagine the long term beneficial effects.


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