blunder.jpg“Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions,” by Zachary Shore.

Shore is a professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. In “Blunder” he lays out seven “Cognitive Traps” or common destructive mental patterns.

1. Exposure Anxiety: Our need to appear strong combined with a fear of appearing weak can make us overcompensate and become aggressive unnecessarily.

2. Causefusion: Confusion about causation. We confuse one causation factor with another or look for a single cause where there are frequently many, confusing the causes of complex events.

3. Flatview: Black and white, one-dimension thinking. Looking at life/problems/crises through a solitary lens.

4. Cure-allism: One size fits all, one solution fits many different problems.

5. Infomania: We hold onto information or knowledge like misers, sometimes because we think it gives us power but more often because we don’t take the time to organize our thoughts or share them so that others can absorb information quickly and efficiently. Also we tend to avoid new knowledge or outside information in the complacent belief that our current information and knowledge is superior.

6. Mirror Imaging: We assume all others think, feel, and behave as we do (or that they should).

7. Static Cling: The refusal to accept/acknowledge and work with change.

Essentially, we make mistakes because we have inflexible mindsets. This book is an entertaining read and the parables may help us remember, but none of the above “traps” are new news! Nonetheless, we humans keep tripping up on them. The challenge is to do as well as we know, to pause in the moment of decision and action, and review our full depth of knowledge in order to make it active wisdom.