Are You Addicted to Your Inefficiencies?

We all have blind spots that make it difficult to practice 80/20 thinking. One source of these overlooked inefficiencies are emotional biases.

For example, status quo bias makes us prefer the current state of affairs. We perceive any change, even if meant to improve the situation, as a potential loss. This makes us reluctant to adjust the choices that might not be optimal anymore.

The status quo bias is partly caused by the endowment effect, a tendency to give more value to things we already own. We become attached, if not outright addicted, to our current situation. We become blind to alternatives because we assume that what we already own or do is best for us.

We keep taking old-generation drugs even if there’s a new, proven alternative with less unpleasant side effects. We continue with an inefficient workout program because we’ve already followed it for a long time. We keep working hard even though it doesn’t deliver the results we want.

We can combat this tendency through cultivating an experimental mindset.

Trying new things—for fun, without any expectations—helps us embrace new perspectives. It’s a sneaky shortcut that helps question our current choices without provoking internal resistance.

Inspired by fitness coaches touting the supposed benefits of pushing yourself to the limit, I punished my body for years. Despite injuries, I kept believing that it was the only correct approach. It was only when I began experimenting with different approaches I realized how wrong I had been all this time. Today my approach to exercise is fluid.

Because of the status quo bias, I kept following an inefficient, unhealthy practice for years. What’s one area of your life where you’re overlooking potential improvements because you assume all the alternatives as inferior?