Today morning Krishnan, Amma and I were involved in an interesting discussion… I usually have a fight with my mom about her relationship bias. If the person involved is her brother or sister or their children she will forgive even unacceptable behavior and also try and justify it. I can see some of my friends smiling because they know how mad that gets me ! I put the behavior first and evaluate that irrespective of my relationship with the person. Even if it is Krishnan who says or does something inappropriate I will give him that feedback, my love for him stays intact and my support is unconditional but I won’t justify something wrong.
While explaining to Amma that distinction, I realised we all have biases and it is a biased world. Our biases are all very different, and we always justify our actions based on those biases strongly. For instance, I have a strong bias towards candidates from the armed forces and the hospitality sector ! If two candidates are equally good in the interview and I have to choose just one, I will choose the one who has prior experience in the hospitality sector or the armed forces. Some things are a given in these two sectors – you are trained to do honest hard work, and you don’t look at the clock every time additional work comes your way.
Our biases are based on our life experiences and they play havoc sometimes. Someone who has been sidelined and lost out on many opportunities in one organization will try and ensure he or she surrounds himself/herself with “yes” people. They tend to promote people who can’t be a threat to them. Some become very insecure and act with a lot of aggression. A bias develops where they don’t like being questioned or rebutted in public…. any subordinate who does that is immediately perceived as a threat. Watch for the bias behind the behaviour.
When Krishnan and I became bankrupt due to business losses, we developed a bias against the cause/effect theory. We felt the losses should not have happened because we had been good people and didn’t “cause” the bad times…. it took us many years and a lot more experience to understand that cause and effect are not linear – you may go through the effect of something that you hadn’t caused till then :). Read the statement twice and mull over it. Sometimes it could be Karma that you are expiating, or sometimes its just the result of the kind of thoughts you are thinking. Many times its what is about to happen in the future and this loss propels you in that direction. Also when we lost money, some moneyed people “stole” stuff from us, and that led to a bias in our minds that the rich usually try and push down on someone who is already down and out …. completely unfounded, but it took us some time to work that out.
The point is, we all are biased, and we live in a biased world. The idea is to understand our biases and try to break free of them and likewise look for the bias behind other people’s behaviour. Help them to get rid of those biases.
Have a bias for change and changing your biases !!