What Did You Assume (Incorrectly) About Others?

Trigger Question #27

We work with people who make the same perceptual errors we do.

. . .

Every day, do you contemplate the people you interact with? How they behave, what drives them, what they think? Or do you assume other people behave or think like you do, and so you already “know” them?

Or don’t you even give it a thought?

Well, if you assume without thinking, you are not alone. Many, if not all, of us do so. We assume others behave or think like we do to a greater extent than is actually the case. For example, smokers believe that a greater number of people smoke than the actual number who do smoke.

It’s called the false consensus effect. Of course you’ve heard about it. And you know it is very common. In other people.

Guess what? To me, you are the “other people.” That should be a warning that you also make this assumption error, if only sometimes.

Why do we do this? Because we like to think that others agree with us, because that would mean we are “right.”

And, of course, there’s this thing called diversity. Or lack thereof. Because of a general lack of diversity in the work-place, we work with people who already share our views, who think like us, who make the same perceptual errors we do.

How can you counter the false consensus effect? Start by keeping it in mind. Never forget it. Remind yourself of it often.

And try to interact with “other” people, those “different” people. Once you get over the shock, you’ll realize how much fun weirdness can be. You might even learn something useful.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

. . .