Functional Fixedness (Why We Can’t See What’s In Front)

Today, we’re gonna talk about another cognitive bias. It’s called functional fixedness.

It’s a concept that talks about how we look at an object and only see its common use.

Now to get a better idea of functional fixedness, I’ll share with you this experiment.

It’s called the candle problem. And it was made by this psychologist, Karl Duncker.

So what he did was, he gave participants, adults and children, he gave them a box of thumbtacks and matches.

And then, he asked them to light a candle on a wall without letting the wax drip on the table below.

And here’s what a lot of the adults participants did, they tried attaching the candle directly on the wall using thumbtacks. Obviously it didn’t work.

But then, the younger ones, 5 yr old children to be exact, they got it right.

Now the correct way to do it is to attach the thumbtacks box on the wall, using a thumbtack, and to put the candle in the box. Simple, right?

But because of functional fixedness, many participants didn’t realize this. They thought that the box was only a container for the thumbtacks. They didn’t think it can be used for the experiment.

Now, this is something that we develop over time.

That’s also why 5 year old children don’t have this bias.

See this article of landing interviews guaranteed review and what he did to overcome his failure.

You see, when we look at an object, the motor cortex of our brain quickly associates it with the way we know the object is used for.

For example, if you see a fork, you’ll know that it’s used for food.

But then, a 5 year old child might also look differently. Like he might use it to comb his hair.

This is why you see a lot of young kids using pots as to make musical instruments.

So anyway, why is this important to your career?

Functional fixedness is a problem, it blocks new ideas, stops you from thinking creatively.

For example, messaging apps used to be used for just that – chatting.

But eventually, companies saw that it can also be used for marketing. And for some, it’s effective.

Here’s another example.

If you’re a junior associate, then your manager might not easily see you as someone who can be a mentor. Not because you’re not capable, but because of your designation.

So now, what can you do about this?

Here’s one way to overcome this bias. It’s called “generic parts technique.”

This concept is about breaking down an object into basic parts.

Let’s go back to our example earlier, the candle problem, people didn’t think of using the box.

And it’s because they saw it like that – a thumbtack box.

But with this “generic parts techniques,” we look at it simply. It’s not a thumbtack box but simply a cardboard container.

Same goes for a candle. When you break it down to basic parts, it simply becomes wax and wick.

So, you see the idea, now when you need to solve a problem or deliver a project, break it down to basic.

It can help you see alternative approaches.

For example, if you’re working on customer research, you’ll probably consult CRM.

But here, you can also consult the sales team, the ones who face the customers. You can start from there.

You see, once you learn how to get over this bias, the better you’ll get at thinking creatively.

 

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What Is The Best Approach To Office Bullying?

Nobody wants to deal with an office bully. Just imagine this. You go to work every day. You like what you do and you do it pretty well. You like the company you work for. You have good working relationships with most of the people in your office.

But then, you cross paths with the office bully. An insecure psychopath who does everything in their power to make your life miserable. They just don’t like you. Or maybe they just feel threatened. It could be a combination of many reasons. Whatever those reasons are, it drives that bully to show aggression towards you. And it can get really annoying. It drains your energy and confidence. You feel tired dealing with the bully’s tirade or workplace bullying scenarios each day.


Now, what should you do?

But before we discuss the things that you can do, let’s talk about what you should not do. There is nothing wrong with these methods. But these methods are more likely to cause harm than good. You don’t want to put yourself in a bad position.

Do not be confrontational

We’re not saying that you should be completely passive. But you should realize that being straightforward is not always good. You might want to talk to the bully to clear the air, but have you ever visualized how that will turn out? There is a possibility that it will work out. But in reality, it’s more likely that your plan will backfire. You see, bullies will not easily let go of their so-called values. They will just get defensive if you call out their destructive behavior. In the end, they’ll have more reasons to coerce you.

Do not go to HR right away

Be wary of the HR department. They do not always have the power to resolve your concerns. You see, HR personnel do not always act with confidentiality. Remember, they are also employees like you. There is a high possibility that they will tell the bully about it. And that’s not exactly a helpful action.

So, is there a method that actually produces a good outcome?

Here is a possible solution. It is always good to surround yourself with a supportive group of people in the office. Establish your credibility and build connections with key players and decision makers. They are the ones that can elevate your career. Having access to powerful and influential people can be effective in fending off the bully for good. Interact with these key players. See if you can be involved in projects that they are working on. Make sure you gain their trust and confidence.

If all else fails, then maybe it’s time to move on. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the stress and effort. You can find yourself a new employer who will treat you better and support you in advancing your career.

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Don’t Let What You Cannot Do Interfere With What You Can Do

“When your back is to the wall and you are facing fear head on, the only way is forward and through it.”
― Stephen Richards, Releasing You from Fear

“You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift… YOU!”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli
“No matter what your history has been, your destiny is what you create today. What are you going to create?”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
“Every single time you help somebody stand up you are helping humanity rise.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
“Success will be within your reach only when you start reaching out for it.”
― Stephen Richards, Think Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free
“People don’t need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn’t be.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum
“Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable\
“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ”
― John Wooden
“Act as if! Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and then you’ll surely become rich. Act as if you have unmatched confidence and then people will surely have confidence in you. Act as if you have unmatched experience and then people will follow your advice. And act as if you are already a tremendous success, and as sure as I stand here today – you will become successful.”
― Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street
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Life Always Begins With One Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

“They will hate you if you are beautiful. They will hate you if you are successful. They will hate you if you are right. They will hate you if you are popular. They will hate you when you get attention. They will hate you when people in their life like you. They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God. They will hate you if you are spiritual. They will hate you if you have courage. They will hate you if you have an opinion. They will hate you when people support you. They will hate you when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”
― Warren Buffett

“The level of success you achieve will be in direct proportion to the depth of your commitment.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.”
― Shannon L. Alder

“Integrity is doing what is right and truthful, and doing as you say you would do.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Judgment is a negative frequency.”
― Stephen Richards

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Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and GrThink and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
“If you are not the hero of your own story, then you’re missing the whole point of your humanity.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

“You see the first thing we love is a scene. For love at first sight requires the very sign of its suddenness; and of all things, it is the scene which seems to be seen best for the first time: a curtain parts and what had not yet ever been seen is devoured by the eyes: the scene consecrates the object I am going to love. The context is the constellation of elements, harmoniously arranged that encompass the experience of the amorous subject…

Love at first sight is always spoken in the past tense. The scene is perfectly adapted to this temporal phenomenon: distinct, abrupt, framed, it is already a memory (the nature of a photograph is not to represent but to memorialize)… this scene has all the magnificence of an accident: I cannot get over having had this good fortune: to meet what matches my desire.

The gesture of the amorous embrace seems to fulfill, for a time, the subject’s dream of total union with the loved being: The longing for consummation with the other… In this moment, everything is suspended: time, law, prohibition: nothing is exhausted, nothing is wanted: all desires are abolished, for they seem definitively fulfilled… A moment of affirmation; for a certain time, though a finite one, a deranged interval, something has been successful: I have been fulfilled (all my desires abolished by the plenitude of their satisfaction).”
― Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

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Our Way Of Thinking Creates Good Or Bad Outcomes

“Our way of thinking creates good or bad outcomes.”
― Stephen Richards

“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and GrThink and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the mext moment”
― Oprah Winfrey

“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.”
― Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m Kidding

“Inherited Will, The Destiny of the Age, and The Dreams of the People. As long as people continue to pursue the meaning of Freedom, these things will never cease to be!” – Gol D. Roger”
― Eiichirō Oda

“Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can.”
― Douglas Pagels
“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you’d like to act.”
― Bob Dylan
“If you fuel your journey on the opinions of others, you are going to run out of gas.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
“You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task that meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behind illusions of strength and greatness, someone else’s strength and greatness. He’s proud of his great generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it.”
― Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man!
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Success Is Knowing Your Purpose In Life

“Success is…
knowing your purpose in life,
growing to reach your maximum potential, and
sowing seeds that benefit others.”
― John C. Maxwell

“Running isn’t a sport for pretty boys…It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. Its the frozen spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut. It’s about throbbing calves and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It’s about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with. It’s about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there’s not a single soul in sight to cheer you on. Running is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fiber in your legs, mind, and heart is turned to steel. And when you’ve finally forged hard enough, you will have become the best runner you can be. And that’s all that you can ask for.”
― Paul Maurer, The Gift – A Runner’s Story

“Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty.’ It’s self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism.’ It’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.”
― Bobbe Sommer

“If you believe you can, you might. If you know you can, you will.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.”
― Reba McEntire

“All the time you’re saying to yourself, ‘I could do that, but I won’t,’ — which is just another way of saying that you can’t.”
― Richard Feynman, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

“The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.”
― Salvador Dalí

“The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.”
― George S. Patton Jr.

 

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Doubt Kills More Dreams Than Failure Ever Will.

“If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything you can’t do if you want to.”
― Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and ablities were used in a way that served others.”
― Marianne Williamson

“I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
― Amelia Earhart

“The harder you fall, the heavier your heart; the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb; the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal.”
― Criss Jami, Killosophy
“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”
― Robert Strauss
“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”
― Michael Jordan
“To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.”
― Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
“Vision without execution is just hallucination.”
― Henry Ford
“Happiness is part of who we are. Joy is the feeling”
― Tony DeLiso, Legacy: The Power Within
“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”
― Elbert Hubbard
“Don’t blow off another’s candle for it won’t make yours shine brighter.”
― Jaachynma N.E. Agu, The Prince and the Pauper
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
― Suzy Kassem
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Understanding The Difference Between Healthy Striving And Perfectionism

“How much you can learn when you fail determines how far you will go into achieving your goals.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Failures are the stairs we climb to reach success.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Fortune sides with him who dares.”
― Virgil

“I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re your parents. Because, if you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do – if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary- you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably
become as ordinary as they expect you to be.”
― Kelly Cutrone, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

“Be an Encourager: When you encourage others, you boost their self-esteem, enhance their self-confidence, make them work harder, lift their spirits and make them successful in their endeavors. Encouragement goes straight to the heart and is always available. Be an encourager. Always.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“There is great change to be experienced once you learn the power of letting go. Stop allowing anyone or anything to control, limit, repress, or discourage you from being your true self! Today is YOURS to shape – own it – break free from people and things that poison or dilute your spirit.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

“To be successful you need friends and to be very successful you need enemies.”
― Sidney Sheldon, The Other Side of Midnight

“There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component. …But success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.”
― Deepak Chopra

“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”
― Flannery O’Connor

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Rejection Is An Opportunity For Your Selection

“When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you.”
― Stephen Richards

“Rejection is an opportunity for your selection.”
― Bernard Branson
“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”
― Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents\
“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”
― Steven Wright
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
― Dale Carnegie
“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.”
― Criss Jami, Killosophy
“Success, after all, loves a witness, but failure can’t exist without one.”
― Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”
― Albert Einstein
“Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
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