Although we often like to think of ourselves as rational and logical, in reality the human brain is sometimes too optimistic, even too optimistic for your own good. Everyone underestimates the likelihood of experiencing a negative event such as job loss, divorce, or illness. The brain tends to have an optimism bias naturally.
This type of optimism will make you believe that you are less likely to suffer a misfortune than other people and possibly, you will also think that you are more likely to achieve success. You may think that you will live longer, that your children will be more handsome, or that you will simply be more successful than others. But in reality, all people cannot be above average, statistically that is not possible.
An erroneous belief
In reality, optimism is a cognitive bias that turns out to be a mistaken belief that the possibilities of experiencing negative events in life and that positive events are higher than those of other people.
This does not mean that you have too nice a perspective on your life, it can also cause you to make bad decisions that have disastrous results. People can avoid going to the doctor thinking that they will never have a bad disease even if they have strange symptoms, something that could end their life. There are also people who do not think that they never need to save money and when they really need money, having no savings, they are left with nothing and not knowing what to do to survive. Another example is people who don’t use sunscreen thinking that skin cancer will never happen to them, and after a while they get skin cancer.
Cognitive bias is found in all cultures around the world. Sometimes this very positive cognitive bias can lead to negative results and that people engage in risky behaviors or make poor decisions for their health (such as smoking), although it can also have certain benefits.
The good part
Optimism can also help improve well-being by creating a sense of anticipation about the future because good things are expected to happen and this will make you feel happier. This optimism can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. By believing that you will be successful, people are more likely to succeed in something that may prompt you to pursue your goals or dreams.
If you are an optimistic person you will also do more things to improve your health such as exercising, taking vitamins if you need it and following a more nutritious diet. You will know that if you do things well, you will have better results.
The optimism bias in your life
The brain is evolutionarily wired to see the glass as half full, and if it sees it as half empty it is due to personal circumstances and learning from experiences. When a person compares his life to other people’s, he does so self-centered and self- centered rather than realistically looking at how he compares to others .
A person who is optimistic will be more likely to be successful because he will try to succeed, will have better self-esteem, lower stress levels, and greater general well-being. All of this is the magic recipe for greater success in life.
The events that are not frequent are influenced by the bias of optimism because people tend to think that it is unlikely that they can experience a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a flood because it is not something that usually happens. The same happens with diseases that are less common to happen, they think that nothing happens that they smoke or that they do not protect their skin because nothing will happen to them …
What lowers the optimism bias?
There are a few factors that decrease this bias:
- People who are depressed or anxious are less likely to experience the optimism bias
- Experiencing negative events reduces optimism bias
- People are less likely to be optimistic when compared to close loved ones