What Is Confirmation Bias and How Can Entrepreneurs Overcome It?

Brain wood head with confirmation bias present.

In the world of entrepreneurship, you can get thrown curveballs without any notice. Currently, 582 unique and aspiring entrepreneurs around the world experience the same mental battle as one another. This mental barrier is something called confirmation bias, but what is it exactly?

Confirmation bias impacts the way someone gathers, interprets, and recalls information based on their beliefs. For example, individuals that back or don’t back a specific issue will only find information to support their belief. With this, they’ll also try to interpret information differently, so it solidifies their beliefs.

If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur, you’ve likely battled through confirmation bias one way or another. One thing that’s common in an entrepreneurship career is opinions. Quite frankly, they’re everywhere, and they can only be right or wrong.

Nonetheless, you should be able to make a confident decision based on your thought process and findings. Suppose you’re someone who experiences confirmation bias from other individuals when you’re beginning a startup or during your entrepreneurship career. In that case, you may want to become knowledgeable on the below.

Overcoming confirmation bias when creating a startup

For those who aren’t aware, a startup refers to the first stages of a company. If you’re building a startup, you’ll likely experience confirmation bias daily. The main reason for this is because entrepreneurship isn’t a traditional career path. We’re taught to scale the corporate ladder throughout life and become employees because 90% of all startups fail.

However, many industries fail to offer an uncapped salary, ultimate freedom, and high levels of achievement. Because of this, many people like you and I opt-in for this lifestyle. But how do you overcome confirmation bias when building a startup? Here’s how:

Don’t be afraid to think differently

When creating a startup, people will always hold doubtful thoughts because they’ve either failed themselves or saw someone fail. Whether you’re trying to change the world or generate a more significant income, people’s opinions about a startup will remain the same.

Fear is the number one reason why 80% of people living in the United States don’t have their dream job. The emotion fear is usually generated because of the thoughts of being embarrassed from having a failing startup. However, these two primary reactions are caused by other people’s opinions due to confirmation bias.

Learn how to think differently and don’t necessarily follow what the crowd is thinking or saying.

Separate your ego from your learning

On the other hand, you could have confirmation bias from other people’s ideas because of your ego. When many entrepreneurs reach a certain level of success, it’s expected they’ll gravitate to a high-ego and won’t feel the need to learn anymore.

According to a study in Scientific American, around 75 percent of individuals can’t recall a ten-minute oral presentation just after it’s been presented. From this, we can quickly discover that humans are bad listeners. When learning, studying, or listening to other people’s ideas, be sure to consider them with logical thinking.

After all, you truly never know what type of information some people might have. If you listen and learn from them correctly, they may be able to suggest different approaches that could make your startup more successful.

If you’re someone who struggles to listen to people for prolonged periods, try to keep eye contact, ask questions, be relaxed, and don’t interrupt or impose your solutions. Just take it in, as this may be the only time you can receive such information that can cancel out your confirmation bias.

Act based on your thoughts

Above, we mentioned that you must be subjected to separating your ego from your learning to overcome confirmation bias. A phrase we hear time and time again is “you learn something new every day,” and it’s totally true. However, other people’s information can either be helpful or highly devastating.

Because of this, you must act based on your thoughts. This will require you to understand other people’s opinions, your own, the logic behind it, and the statistics. Once you’ve taken this all in, you can begin developing a plan without any confirmation bias.

Many ultra-successful entrepreneurs ensure their minds are adequate to make executive decisions by meditating. Joe Rogan and ten other highly inspirational entrepreneurs undergo this type of mindfulness daily to ensure they can think appropriately for their business decisions.

If meditation isn’t something you want to perform, consider exercise. Exercise is well-known to make you think better as it pumps more blood to your brain, which supports cell growth. According to this post, high earners (people who earn more than $75,000 a year) are 1.6 times more likely to exercise than those who make below $20,000. This means there’s a link between exercise and the way successful people think.

Always network and communicate with like-minded people

Something else that can help you reduce confirmation bias is developing a network of like-minded people. From this, you can have a meaningful discussion with people who are creating a startup or have already developed a well-established business.

From this, you can evaluate both sides of the story and create final thoughts for yourself. According to Forbes, networking during entrepreneurship could provide new opportunities and help grow self-confidence.

Become self-confident.  

Sometimes your gut instinct is correct, but others prevent you from acting because of confirmation bias. If you become self-confident in your ideas and thoughts, you’ll be able to overcome the confirmation bias you experience.

Psychology Today holds that by becoming self-confident, you’d worry much less about fear and anxiety, have greater motivation, and you’ll have greater resilience for when you need it. It goes without saying that self-confidence is the primary way to eliminate confirmation bias.

Reflect on your actions

Including all the above, you must make a habit of reflecting on your actions. Confirmation bias quickly builds up inside of your mind due to other people’s thoughts. However, what really matters is outcomes. Create great plans, execute them flawlessly, and reflect on your successes.

By doing this, The Open University suggests it can help with reviewing the effectiveness of your skills. After all, the more you succeed and reflect on your accomplishments, the more comfortable you’ll feel with your own decisions, which will eliminate confirmation bias from occurring. 

As you can see, there are several actions you can implement to reduce and eliminate confirmation bias. This type of thinking can be devastating for an entrepreneur and an absolute dream killer. Execute what’s outlined above, but with extreme caution. Understand that you must continue learning to grow along your startup journey.

Conclusion

After reading, you should be able to overcome confirmation bias and become the a member of the winning 10% of the half a million startups that are launched in the United States each year. So, now that you understand what it takes to eliminate this type of thinking, will you be implementing the above tips?