The Seven Fatal Flaws of Thinking
Leaping to solutions, jumping to conclusions or brainstorming in an instinctive or reflexive way almost never leads to an elegant solution to a complex problem. Fixation is the umbrella term for our deeply-grooved thinking patterns—mental models, mindsets, biases, assumptions—that can make it hard for us to ‘think different’. Over-thinking is the art of complicating matters, and causing problems that weren’t even there to begin with, which we tend to do because our brains abhor uncertainty. Satisficing is Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon’s term for our tendency to glom onto solutions that are easy and obvious, but mediocre, thus failing to solve our problem in a creative way. Downgrading is a close cousin of satisficing and is a formal revision of a goal in what amounts to preemptive surrender, simply so that we can declare victory. No one likes to fail. NIH means ‘if we didn’t come up with the idea, it won’t work’. We naturally reject, stifle and dismiss ideas simply because we didn’t think of them ourselves. Self-censoring is the mindless act of rejecting our own ideas, usually out of fear, before they ever see the light of day. It is the deadliest of the fatal thinking flaws, because it stifles creativity.
—From Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking