Graeme Newell

Illusion of Control - Traffic Deaths

The illusion of control is our brain’s tendency to believe that we have more control over things than we actually do. Getting more accustom to a situation can anesthetize us to the risk of failure. We also start presuming that doing something, despite the fact that it’s often pointless, somehow improves our chances of beating the odds.

-We wear our lucky socks to the football game.
-We press the button over and over again to make the elevator arrive sooner.
-We blow on the dice at the craps table.

How do we sensibly understand the risks and beat the Illusion of Control?

Don’t research success, research failure.

For most big undertakings, FAILURE is the norm, not success. So why do so many of us solely rely on the advice of winners? Those who have tried and failed have a first-hand understanding of the biggest obstacles we’ll face. Don’t ignore them.

Withhold judgment
Make a firm commitment not to decide until you’ve completed a comprehensive analysis of the stats. Too many of us simply make an instinctual choice, then seek out information that verifies what we’ve already decided.