Status quo bias is a powerful cognitive bias that can affect you so severely that it leads you to live a mediocre life.

There are many different cognitive biases which can have a powerful impact on our psyches and our lives. One of the most common ones is status quo bias. It stops people from doing new things and can lead them to live very boring lives.

Luckily, as with all cognitive biases, there are ways of beating it so that you can make your life more exciting and much more fun.

What is status quo bias?

It is one of the many kinds of cognitive biases that affect our daily lives, thinking and decision making. This bias causes individuals to prefer things to remain the way they are or to maintain the current state of affairs. This can be in your everyday life, but it can even go as far as political decisions and huge life choices.

Status quo bias can result in people remaining in jobs or relationships that make them unhappy simply because they are too scared to make a change. It seems safer to maintain current situations that are known to use than facing the unknown of making a change.

How can status quo bias lead you to live a mediocre life?

You put your life on hold and miss opportunities

When you are suffering from status quo bias, you may feel scared of change or making big decisions. You feel comfortable in the here and now and would like things to remain that way.

As a result, you may not go for a promotion or pursue a new relationship because you don’t want things to change. By doing so, you leave yourself in a state of pause and life begins to become repetitive.

You don’t evolve

Status quo bias can also stop you from growing as a person. When you are afraid to try new things, you miss out on valuable experiences. Instead, those who suffer from status quo bias may simply choose to do nothing. They may not try a different meal or travel to different places and this means you will miss out.

Your life gets boring and predictable

By only experiencing the same things over and over, you will begin to get bored. By allowing status quo bias to control your life in this way, you may find that your life begins to turn stale.

Not only will you get bored, but you may get frustrated by the constant predictability. You may find that time moves faster than you would like it to and you aren’t really living.

How to beat status quo bias?

If you feel like you are suffering from status quo bias and want to learn how to beat it, don’t worry. It is entirely possible to beat the bias and really start living.

Be aware

Like all cognitive biases, being aware of it can change how you address different situations. If you understand that you may be afraid of making changes or approaching new challenges, then you have already made the first step. By recognizing what scares you, you can try to challenge yourself to make little changes.

Start small

Don’t feel like you have to throw a grenade into the middle of your job or relationship to shake things up. If you feel out of your comfort zone, that’s a good enough start. Try a new food or take a trip, just do something new and something that interests you.

If it’s something you never imagined yourself doing, even better. You could even try a different skill. Take up painting or try a sport. You may find that you have a secret talent you didn’t know you had.

What to do if you are bored at work

If you are bored at work, ask for more responsibility or consider looking for other employment opportunities. If you don’t enjoy your career, consider taking some night classes or going back to school to change your career path.

What to do if you are stuck in a relationship

If your relationship is growing a little stale, try to inject the spark back into it. Go on a date to somewhere new, go on holiday together or simply do something you haven’t done in a while. Relationships take work to maintain. Start trying to do things together and you’ll soon remember all of the reasons you fell in love.

Decide how you want your life to be

The best part about beating status quo bias is that it is completely up to you just how exciting you want to be. Making little changes is a great first step.

However, if you are truly unhappy in the mundane, then don’t be afraid to change things. It might be scary to step into the unknown, but it is always better than living a mundane life you are unhappy with.

Final thoughts

Status quo bias can keep us in a state of pause. We may not even notice that life is passing us by and we end up wasting a lot of time. If you really want to start living your life, start recognizing the problem and take steps to change it.

Your life is completely within your control, so don’t let cognitive biases stand in your way. Start making small changes and trying new things. You might just find that you really enjoy some of them!

References:

  1. https://sites.hks.harvard.edu
Francesca Forsythe, LL.M., M.Phil.

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This Post Has One Comment

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    Robyn A

    Rather than status quo bias, I see this as the result of bad parenting. There are good parents, there are mediocre parents and there are bad parents. The subconscious programming done during youth either creates a well adjusted empowered individual that knows what they want and understands the life path needed to realize it; or an insecure, indecisive individual that feels victimized by choices because they werent given the intellectual mindset and confidence necessary to navigate life in a positive and self affirming way.

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