“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” ~Thomas Alva Edison
Recently my husband and I were traveling and since it is winter, I can’t travel on my motorcycle. We must journey in the car, which means it is podcast time. Yay! This weekend we listened to an episode called Murdered: Meredith Kercher by Crime Junkie.
It was an interesting story, one that I thought I knew well. One that played out in the media. After listening to the whole story, I realized that the media coverage created the story and other people bought into their details, which didn’t match the facts. The wrong person was tried and convicted of the crime and was doing time in prison, while at the same time they convicted the actual offender, and he went to jail. It took years to get the wrongfully convicted person out of prison. I challenge you to listen to it, you will catch yourself saying, “I didn’t know that” many times.
One of the key things I took away from the whole story was, it is important to be an explorer about life. We need to make decisions based on the facts presented at that moment and time, that doesn’t mean that those facts won’t evolve and there will become new information to expand our decision-making process.
This really applies in my neurodiversity coaching. Often people were told about being dyslexic or ADHD and that was years ago. Since then, so much has been explored, we know new things and we still have much to learn. The exploring continues and I think it will for years. We need to make sure that we are not confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. We all do this, and it can be harmful and sometimes deadly to ourselves and other people.
I see confirmation bias from clients when they are trying to prove they can’t do something or when they are trying to prove that they can. An example is when someone years ago told them that they could never do this thing and they believed them, then they gathered data to support that, when they were ten years old. Twenty years later, they are still walking around living a life, making decisions based on information they fact checked when they were ten. The looks on their faces when they do a recent fact check is priceless. That lie is exposed, removed and replaced with the updated facts and reality of today. Most of the time it turns out they can do the things someone told them they could not, it just isn’t going to look the way “A” typical people would do it. And this is OK.
My challenge for you this week is to get uncomfortable and start to see your confirmation bias. If you are feeling really brave, try to challenge it and see what you can learn. Do a little data exploration.
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach and Speaker