Monday, 2 May 2011

Cognitive blind-spots – a request for help

Cognitive blind-spots – a request for help

So, the last few days I've had fun trying to get a new phone. There was epic fail, during which I discovered that never having owned a credit card was a bad move on my part. That's not the interesting thing though. I cant go back in time and change the fact so there's very little point in worrying about it, except that it's representative of a category of error. And this is where I need your help.

You see, it's not that I made an incorrect judgement, that implies making a judgement. With me and credit cards that's not the case. I have never decided not to own a credit card. Up to a week ago, say, I had not even considered it. It's not that I sat down, weighed up the pros and cons and made an error. It's that I never sat down and the default option was worse. Nobody has ever asked me “would you like a credit card”, I've never had that prompt to consider the things. Oh I grant you I know they exist, there those things that all the people I know who are in a financial mess have, but I've never thought that it's something I could own.

So, I'm now worried that there are other things that it's never crossed my mind to do. Other things that some people do that I've never thought about like … well that's the thing. I can hardly give an example of a mental blindspot, a thing I've never thought about. The whole point is I'm not aware of it. But, for instance, someone who'd never travelled and hence had never though about owning a passport and so hadn't thought about other uses for one. I've tried to think about tools people use to solve specific problems that I've not considered, the best candidate I can think of is life insurance. I've never sat down and asked myself if I want to be insured against injury or death. It may well be that I should get insured, the fact that I've never given it the most cursory consideration means that if so I'll commit another error.

So everyone. Tell me, are there tools, things that you have that help you, even very rarely, that not everyone has? What are they? Tell me especially about things like a driver's licence or a CV that are clearly designed for one task but which can be used for something else. The odds are that's the kind of thing that someone who's not wanted to drive or not wanted to get a job wouldn't have thought about. That's the kind of thing that lends itself to becoming a blindspot.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feedback always welcome.