A recent post considered the impact of words, how we use them, and how we can sometimes misuse them. How do words - random collections of letters - get misused and why? The vast majority of those - us included - who work with words every day don't have evil intentions. We try to present information in way that garners the reader's or the listener's attention and encourages them to take a particular action. Seems pretty harmless, right? But behind all of our pens and all of our keyboards lurk our particular world views. Most of the time we're able to bury them and remain objective. But not always. According to the School of Thought, and shared by Visual Capitalist, there are dozens of cognitive biases (180+) that warp our perceptions of reality and can influence the way we communicate - and attempt to influence - others. This amazing infographic highlights 24 of the key cognitive biases.
Did anything on this list look familiar? Be honest. I'll admit to finding a few that felt a little uncomfortable. It's tough admitting that we might not be 100% objective, 100% of the time. It's tough taking a hard look at our perceptions and what might be influencing them. It's a level of self-awareness to which we should all aspire.
We talk about leadership, too, on this blog. Good leaders are self-aware. They understand where their thinking biases lie and how their thoughts, their actions and their words could be influenced as a result. Here we are, right back where we started. Words matter. What might matter even more is understanding how our own world view - and how that view could end up out of focus - drives those words, and being willing to adjust our lens accordingly.