Building Self-Awareness

Understanding Basics

Hyperbolic discount

We have a preference for rewards that arrives sooner than later in the future.

The Paradox of Success

  • Understanding if success is luck or hard work

  • Seeing suceess as a process, not as an event

  • the trick: work as if your results only depend on your effort and skills. In the end of the road remember that luck (good or bad) had its contribution to the outcome


  • Conclusion Biases: they bypass evidence. Shortcuts that the brains form for quick decidions.
    • Anchoring: we rely too much in pre-existing information or the first information when making decisions. Important in negotiations.
    • Pre-judgment: inclunation to reach a particular conclusion
    • Desirability Bias: in the end of the day, we want to be perceived as good by the group.
    • Confirmation Bias: we are often drawn to details that confirm our existing beliefs or favour information that confirms them. Frontally opposed to the scientific method.
  • Excessive Confidence Biases: give more importance to the initial impression and reduce the effect on contradictory information
  • Substitution Biases misweighting the evidence

False Consensus Effect

Tendency to overestimate how much other people agree with their own beliefs, behaviours, attitude and values.

Affinity Bias

The unconscious tendency to get along with others who are like us or share something with us.

It can be related to Confirmation Bias and the need to have a good view on ourselves. If I am great and that person share X with me, it must be likable.

The Gambler’s Fallacy

The gambler’s fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy or the fallacy of the maturity of chances.

A mistaken belief that if a particular event occurs more frequently than usual in the past, it is less likely to occur in the future (or vice versa), when it has been established that the probability of such events does not depend on what has happened in the past. Statistically independent events are those that have the quality of historical independence.

In gambling: the next dice roll is more likely to be a six because there have recently been fewer sixes than expected lately.

Self-Serving Bias

It plays a protecting role in the self-esteem.

Get credit for successes, but lay blame of failures on external causes

Survivorship Bias

Focus on people/things that already made it past some selection process and overlooking those who did not due to a lack of visibility.

It discards what we do not see. Therefore, provides conclusions from an incomplete set of data.

Visible success stories suggesting a winning formula

  • By playing russian roulette we 5 won 10M$. It was a great decision.
  • Weren’t you 6?

Egocentric Bias

Our tendency to rely too heavily in our own perspective.

It can lead to:

  • Overestimate the amount of work that you put on a project
  • Assume that your nervouesness is more visible than it really is

Conclusion Biases

Confirmation Bias

The process loops:

  • Existing belief
  • Evidence to support it

The scientific method requires more mental effort:

  • Form a question from a hypothesis
  • Gather and analyze evidence
  • Test the hypothesis - Must be reproducible by others

Availability Heuristics:

The tendency to estimate the probability of something based on how many examples come to mind.

I know someone who had a problem with his new car. The problem must be really common in that model.

It’s a mental shortcut that tries to save us time when we asses risk, but can lead to incorrect assumptions.

Desirability Bias

Be perceived well by the others

It prevents people to give real answers in surveys.

Base-Rate Information

Loosing the big picture.

Base-Rate Neglect

It is not automatic to think about the rates.

Actor-Observer Bias

Tendency to attribute our own actions to external influences and other’s actions to internal ones.

To others:It depends on you. To yourself: If I dont get a promotion is because of the virus.

The Optimism Bias

Overestimates the likelihood that goo things will happen and underestimates the negative ones, roadblocks.

It’s roots are in the availability heuristics. And its understanding is key to properly plan projects.

That won’t happen to me.

And the The Planning Fallacy

The planning fallacy is a cognitive bias that describes people’s tendency to underestimate the amount of time, cost, and risk associated with future actions while overestimating their benefits.

When estimating, remember that with a sounds estimation should be together with the probability of that event ocurring.

Example: We can deliver the task X by time Y with 90% of security. Make sure to have listed down the reasons why in that 10% of the cases the delivery will be changed.


What is FOMO?

The fear of missing out - Thinking that there is something better out there than what we are doing right now.

Clear priorities will keep our focus in the right place to achieve what is important for us or the team’s strategy.

Questions to gain clarity with FOMO:

  • What are 5 good reasons to have/do it?
  • Can I achieve it without sacrificing other more important goal?
  • Is the opportunity available/realistic?
  • Is there anything too good to be truth?

What is The Halo Effect

The Tendency for an initial impression of a person to influence what we think of them overall.

Some examples:

  • What is beautiful is good
  • I see confidence in this person. It must be intelligent and competent.