3 ways your mind distorts thoughts about the future

What are futures fallacies, and why do they matter for managers? Futures fallacies are beliefs or perceptions about the future that influence our decisions in the present, but they’re not always accurate. For example, just because you believe that the future will be a certain way, doesn’t mean that it will be.

There are three main futures fallacies: survivorship bias, technological determinism, and paradigm paralysis. Survivorship bias is when you think that something is more successful than it really is, because you only see the successes and not the failures. Technological determinism is when you think that technology will inevitably lead to certain outcomes, and paradigm paralysis is when you can’t make decisions because you don’t know what the future will hold.

For managers, business owners, and supervisors, it’s important to be aware of these fallacies and learn how to avoid them. By doing so, you can make better decisions based on a more accurate understanding of the future. So, what can you do to protect yourself from these fallacies?

  1. Be Aware: The first step is to be aware of the biases that can affect our decision-making. This includes knowing what they are, how they work, and when they are likely to pop up.
  2. Question Your Assumptions: Don’t just accept things at face value. When making decisions, ask yourself whether your assumptions are reasonable and whether there is evidence to support them.
  3. Use Data-Driven Decision-Making: Use data whenever possible to back up your decisions. This will help reduce the effects of bias and emotion on your decision-making process.
  4. Seek Expert Opinion: Get input from experts who can help you understand complex situations and make better decisions.
  5. Practice Critical Thinking: Train yourself to be skeptical of information and don’t take anything at face value. Ask questions and probe beneath the surface to get a better understanding of what is really going on.


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These fallacies can have a big impact on our work. For example, if you think that technology is going to automate all our jobs, you might not invest in training or development. Or if you think that the future is going to be full of uncertainty, you might hesitate to make any decisions at all.

By following these tips, you can reduce the chances of being led astray by futures fallacies and make better decisions for our businesses and our lives.

Find out more in the original article here: https://jfsdigital.org/articles-and-essays/vol-25-no-4-june-2021/futures-fallacies-what-they-are-and-what-we-can-do-about-them/

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.