The A2B Newsletter aims to improve your life by taking you from Point A to Point B. Every email shares one self-improvement idea you can read in five minutes or less.

Point A

Your brain is powerful but not perfect. In an attempt to simplify the world, your brain often makes mistakes. These mistakes, known as cognitive biases, influence you to make irrational decisions. Examples include spending too much money, dating the wrong person, and denying facts.

Point B

Thankfully, you can learn to prevent cognitive biases. With the right tools, you can stop irrational decisions before you make them.

Why We Make Irrational Decisions

Your brain works to be as energy-efficient as possible to increase your odds of survival. Because deep thought uses a lot of energy, your brain does its best to limit this type of thinking.

The result of this behavior is lazy thinking. Instead of analyzing facts, your brain makes assumptions. This error is the birthplace of all cognitive biases.

The Biases

1. The Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect refers to our tendency to do something primarily because everyone else is doing it. Examples include adopting habits, opinions, and feelings.

This bias can influence you to make poor decisions when the group is doing something harmful. The 2008 housing crisis is an example of the bandwagon effect.

2. Anchoring Bias

The anchoring bias is our tendency to let the first piece of information we receive about a topic sway our decision.

This bias explains why people often pay too much for a car. Car salesmen are trained to start with a high initial offer that acts as an anchor. This inflated price leads people to overestimate the value of the car and overpay.

How To Prevent Cognitive Biases

Here are three tips you can use to catch cognitive biases before they affect your decisions.

1. Do your research. If you’re going to buy a car, make sure you know the car’s market value. Then, when the salesman starts with a high anchor, you can let it roll off your back.

2. Consider the counterargument. If the crowd is going in one direction, make sure you consider the alternative direction before you follow suit.

3. Monitor your emotions. Research suggests that stress makes you more susceptible to cognitive biases. So, avoid making important decisions when stressed.

Want More?

My video and article on cognitive biases are full of additional information.

The full-length versions include:

  • Three more cognitive biases
  • Lots of real-world examples
  • Tips for how to overcome problems you might face when learning to prevent cognitive biases
  • How to prevent yourself from taking these ideas too far

Be sure to watch or read to learn more about cognitive biases.


Chris Thornham 80/20 Financial Planner
Take Control Of Your Finances

Reduce financial stress, reach financial freedom, and achieve financial goals like buying a home, paying off debt, and investing for retirement.

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