When we are looking at the discovery process, we must realize that we often take our own biases into the situation. A bias is a prejudice against a person or thing that often comes from either a negative understanding or from a negative experience. Don’t discount how powerful biases can be when it comes to problem solving. If you aren’t careful, a bias could quickly ruin your goals to have a solution to a problem.
Let’s look at an example where bias can come into play when it comes to problem solving. Suppose that someone is trying to solve their financial situations. They are trying to use the discovery process to gather data on possible solutions. In the process of their search they come across a finance book that claims to have the solution to their debt problem. This individual says “Well I know that the Johnson’s bought that book and it didn’t work for them, so there’s no way it’ll work for me.” This individual allowed their bias to prevent themselves from using a resource which very well could hold the answer to their problems.
We must be willing to look at all sources of information without letting our biases creep in. We are, of course, to use discernment and caution when it comes to believing these sources of information. But we cannot discount them just because of how we feel about the source material. An argument against the person instead of the information provided is known as an Ad Hominem attack.
These are logical fallacies where we disagree with something on the person instead of on the points. Ad Hominem is usually one of the primary types of biases we can experience when we are sifting through new information. Disagreeing with a fact because you don’t like the political stance of the person providing the fact is allowing your biases to get the best of you.
We are all biased in some degree. It’s natural for us to have the ideas that we agree with and to be suspicious of anyone different from our point of view.
But when we make the conscious effort to shelve how we feel and instead focus on what we can learn, we are opening ourselves up to information and data that we wouldn’t normally look for. This can give us an advantage when it comes to being able to look at every possible solution in problem solving.