Under pressure check your biases.
Updated: May 12, 2020
Under pressure, for very good reasons, most of us tend to employ what Kahneman and Tversky called System 1 thinking – fast, instinctive and emotional decision-making. This can leave us prey to biases which distort perception and judgement.
Among these are:
Hero bias – setting unreasonable expectations for ourselves, and feeling guilty or incompetent when we don’t meet them
Loss aversion – constantly framing situations in terms of loss (e.g. mortality rates) rather than gains or successes (e.g. survival or patient discharge rates)
Control illusion – the tendency to overestimate one’s ability to influence events.
As a counter to these and related biases, it can help to have a few trusted reality check questions up your sleeve, such as:
What assumptions am I making here?
What can I control in this situation?
What assets do I bring (e.g. from my past experience and current abilities)?
What do I know works?
What is important right now?