A Good Story, Overconfidence, and Mattering (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 204)

Pretext Note: These are highly relevant and insightful quotes about behavior and awareness from a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in economics for helping to create the field of behavioral economics.

What people want is not the well being of their experiencing self. What people want is more closely associated with a remembering self. They want to have good memories. They want good opinions of themselves. They want to have a good story about their life.

When you look globally at people’s actions, overconfidence is endemic. I mean we have too much confidence in our beliefs and our overconfidence is really associated with a failure of imagination. We cannot imagine an alternative to our beliefs. We are convinced that only our beliefs can be true. That is overconfidence. And overconfidence is almost always involved with failures of every sort, including those catastrophic and of great impact upon all of humanity. On the other hand, overconfidence and overconfident optimism is the engine of capitalism. I mean all entrepreneurs are overconfident. They all think they are going to be successful. People who open restaurants in New York, think they will succeed, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, but at least two thirds of them will have to give up within a few years. In our society, we reward overconfidence. We almost demand that our leaders exercise and proclaim overconfidence.

What I don’t know matters enormously. What I don’t see matters enormously.

Daniel Kahneman

 

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