Why Some Self-Aware People Have a Hard Time Giving Advice

How do you fight the confirmation bias?

Photo by Court Cook on Unsplash

When you recover from a dark phase in your life, you learn what people matter to you and who scoff at you for being honest and mock your vulnerability.

You realise in those tough times which people can help you lower the emotional burden, and that is how you find your close friend for life.

With time this selective socialisation strengthens, and you learn to appreciate alone time too. You either spent quality time in introversion or enjoying with your close friend without caring about how long you talked.

Self-awareness is sexy

I became independent this way. I know who I can trust for help without doubt, but I prefer to do any new task on my own for the sake of learning.

I have developed this mentality, “if you want to deliver great shit, you’ve got to gain a lot of experience through practice. It is just how the trust builds. No hack, just sweat it out.”

Even if I hear some expert advice on a topic I need guidance on, I experiment with it a bit by tweaking according to my preferences before trusting it completely. Also, if the professionals say it is 100% proven, I try it before believing blindly.

Practising means investing your brainpower in the present without perfectly knowing the success rate. It can be fearful sometimes. Well, what isn’t? Every new thing is either a fear bullet or a learning experience. It is a matter of perspective.

“Fear is interest”. — Brianna Wiest

When I want to learn something difficult, the best way for me is to write it down after each iteration.

The reason being our brain cannot understand what is essential and what is not, it only knows if the situation is familiar or not, then defaults to the safest option if it is a new circumstance, i.e., giving in to fear. How do I know this? I read about a lot of actionable advice on mental health.

If we feed any important information only once a day ( thinking in over-confidence that we’ll remember it ), we have to retain it somehow too! Otherwise, you will most likely lose it because of the memory consolidation process going on in the deep sleep phase.

During sleep time, your brain decides what memories should stay and what should trash. The only way to feed any information as necessary to your mind is by exposing it repeatedly until it becomes a habit. The next level of habit autonomy is adopting it as a lifestyle.

Remember how you learned writing in the nursery? You used to draw noodles when learning to write the letter “m”. Even the sound of “m” is “yum”! Is saliva in your mouth now? Me too! Let’s move past it. LOL!!!

Community learning

The other way is to discuss with others and see how you can help them from your learning. The compound effect is terrific. It creates a positive feedback loop. You learn you teach, and you learn more. For me, education is like the brain on steroids!

I have a friend who practices the approach of collective learning, and he even convinced me to start with daily blogging. Since I shared blogs from famous self-help authors, he believed I could create similar articles too.

He gave me a nudge, and that was enough. Today is day 59 of my writing streak. Lucky are those who have such people in life who have faith in you more than yourself!

Give it time before you adopt a new system.

I am having a hard time embracing the community learning ideology because of the confirmation bias that you will see in every human.

We look for approval. For example, if we like a pair of headphones ( shopaholics will vibe here better than even my alter ego) and we are not sure to buy it, we look for similar feedbacks that confirm our assumption that the product we fell in love with is right.

The confirmation bias attitude stops me from advising adults because, in the end, people will do what they want and unless you are world-famous, no one cares about your opinion.

That’s why I ask a lot of questions before advising because of this simple reason: “advice from a follower of pragmatism (like me) only cares about the other person’s growth irrespective of how bad or good they feel about the advice.”

I have a lot to learn, and if you are adaptive with community learning, you will impact the people’s lives in a way self-transformation can’t. There is a trade-off between these two kinds of the learning process, and we choose to side with our well-thought priorities!

This article belongs to a series of posts I am publishing in this 100-days streak. Navigate to the end of article 22, for the references from day 23 onwards. If you would like to read the ones before day 22, here is the first one that documents them in the end.

~ S

Mentor and Project Reviewer @Udacity | Beta Tester @Udacity | IITR 2019 | Documenting My Journey of Lifelong Learning, One Blog At a Time | IG: sanjeevai

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store