There’s a danger to learning about cognitive biases and logical fallacies and so on which is that you end up with this tool kit of ways to reject other people’s arguments.
Why do we systematically underestimate the amount of time or money we are going to spend on a given project?
One of the most universal and robustly demonstrated cognitive biases is the planning fallacy. If you’ve ever underestimated how long it would take you to finish writing that paper you’re working on or finish moving or get to your destination, then congratulations, first of all you’re a human being and that makes you subject to the planning fallacy.
Don’t stop at the first explanation that occurs to you, ask your inner rivals what competing explanations they can come up with.
It's important to challenge "good enough" explanations.
Your brain is lazy. Don't take it personally, my brain's also lazy. Everyone's brain is lazy. It's how the human brain is built. We're what scientists call cognitive misers. And this is a good thing.
Julia Galef is a New York-based writer and public speaker specializing in science, rationality, and design. She serves on the board of directors of the New York City Skeptics, co-hosts their official podcast, Rationally Speaking, and co-writes the blog Rationally Speaking along with philosopher of science Massimo Pigliucci. She has moderated panel discussions at The Amazing Meeting and the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, and gives frequent public lectures to organizations including the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Student Alliance. Julia received her B.A. in statistics from Columbia in 2005.