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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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How Social Comparisons Cloud Our Thinking

May 31, 2013, 12:00 AM
Cloudy

How good are you at your job? How successful are you in your personal life? To answer those questions, being human, you look at others to evaluate yourself. It is a natural and obvious choice to compare yourself to your peers, friends and colleagues, but it is a choice that can seriously impact your ability to make a smart decision and that could really derail your plans.

Here's why: Francesca Gino, author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan, points to research that shows people will choose jobs that pay them less when they are given information that triggers a social comparison. This may be hard to believe, but it is more important for us to know that we are faring well in comparison to our peers than it is for us to ensure that we do better for ourselves. 

So how do break away from this habit of making social comparisons? In the video below, Gino says we need to constantly ask ourselves questions about the information that we are using when we make decisions. 

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

More from the Big Idea for Friday, May 31 2013

Social Comparison Bias

One of the reasons why it is so difficult to assess ourselves is social comparison bias, that is, the tendency to evaluate ourselves based on how well our peers are doing. In today's lesson, Fr... Read More…

 

How Social Comparisons Clou...

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