Sunday Brain Food: a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas and insights for life and business.


Knowing about a cognitive bias isn’t usually enough to overcome it. Even people like Daniel Kahneman who have studied behavioral economics for many years sometimes struggle with the same irrational patterns. But being aware of the availability heuristic is helpful for the times when you need to make an important decision and can step back to make sure it isn’t distorting your view. Here are five ways of mitigating the availability heuristic.

— Overcoming a Common Cognitive Distortion

Explore Your Curiosity

★ “The biggest fear most of us have with learning to say NO is that we will miss an opportunity. An opportunity that would have catapulted us to success, or that will never come again. And most of the time*, that simply isn’t true. I’ve found that the first part of learning to say NO is learning to accept that offers and opportunities are merely an indication that you’re on the right path- not that you’ve arrived at a final destination you can never find again.’”

— Grace Bonney on saying no

★ “The big mistake in this pattern of failure is projecting your subjective lack of comprehension onto the object you are looking at, as “irrationality.” We make this mistake because we are tempted by a desire for legibility.”

— A Big Little Idea Called Legibility

Timeless Insight

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.”

— Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

Tiny Thought

Waiting for the right time is seductive. Our mind tricks us into thinking that waiting is actually doing something.

It’s easy to land in a state where you’re always waiting … for the right moment, for things to be perfect, for everything to feel just right. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not ready and if you wait just a little longer than things will be easier.

Waiting rarely makes things easier. Most of the time, waiting makes things harder.

The right time is now.

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