Have you heard of the observational bias called Streetlight Effect, or as I prefer it, the Drunkard’s Search?

From Wikipedia:

A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, “this is where the light is”.

In other words, you can’t just search where it’s easiest.1 I use this image to check my frame, but I need the reminder most when faced with the prospect of learning from folks I don’t like. For example, I listened to some good podcast interviews this weekend with Tucker Max and Scott Adams. Don’t like either of them really, but I got some good inputs.

Getting better isn’t always comfortable. It shouldn’t be.

  1. For instance, note the predominance of WEIRD test subjects within behavioral psychology. Studies happen on campus, might as well use undergrads, since they’ll do anything if we provide lunch or maybe give them $8 beer money. ↩︎