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🐸Don't boil like a frog | And an important announcement
💡Challenge the status quo | Wisdom Letter #160
Hey friend 👋
Today we will discuss a cognitive limitation called Status Quo Bias.
Humans tend to stick to the default situation more often than not.
Many a times this tendency causes more harm to us than good, but we still prefer the known over the unknown.
This human tendency is called Status Quo Bias.
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Now... onto today's topic -
🐸 Status Quo Bias
Do you understand inertia?
Think middle-school physics. Think Newton’s first law of motion.
Inertia is the tendency of a body to stick to its current conditions in the absence of an external force. Moving objects tend to stay moving, still objects tend to stay still. Only an outside force can change their current state.
This is so true for us humans as well.
Boiling Frog Syndrome
Status Quo bias is closely related to the concept of boiling frog syndrome.
The idea is that if a frog is put in boiling water it will immediately jump out and save itself. But if its put in tepid water and heated slowly then it will cook itself to death. Incremental increase in temperature will not lead the frog to sense the danger of the boiling water.
It will stick to its known conditions even when they are harming it.
It will stick to to the status quo.
Many of us are living like a boiling frog in some aspect of our life.
For some its their physical health, for some its their financial health, and for some its their psychological health.
The Two Forces
If someone told you that you will die of a cardiac arrest tomorrow if you don’t work out today, then you will be immediately seen on the treadmill within an instant.
But if someone told you that you are likely to die of cardiac arrest 30 years from now if you don’t build a daily workout routine from a young age, then there’s little chance that you will act on that information.
You will be a lot more comfortable to stick with the status quo and delay the workout for the proverbial “tomorrow” that never comes.
There are two forces here that will make you act instinctively, highlighted in the two sentences above. The absence of these forces ensures your inaction.
The irony is that most good things in life come from being able to deal with uncertainty over a long period of time. Be it having good health, fulfilling relationships, or substantial wealth.
For a longer discussion on Status Quo Bias do read the full post in our archives.
There we discuss the evolutionary history of status quo bias, it’s impact on our personal life and how we can actually find a way to fight it -
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Further Reading -
Read an in depth report on Status Quo Bias in this article.
Read a more researched backed article on the topic here.
Watch this simple video to understand status quo bias better.
Quote to think about -
“One of the causes of status quo bias is lack of attention. Many people adopt, what we call a - ‘yeah, whatever’ heuristic.”
- Richard Thaler, Nobel Laureate, author ‘Nudge’
Question to ask yourself -
In which aspects of your life are you using the “yeah, whatever” heuristic? What things you know you can improve but you still choose to stick to the status quo?
Think about it!
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