Story of a Success Monkey to Convey Outcome Bias

Success Monkey - Outcome Bias Long time back I was asked to read a book called "The art of thinking clearly" by my uncle. ...

Success Monkey - Outcome Bias

Long time back I was asked to read a book called "The art of thinking clearly" by my uncle. The book & its content was very interesting that I was able to learn and remember something special from it.  All it was about "Never judge a decision by its outcome". 

The Story starts by saying - One million monkeys speculate on the stock market. They do the trading like crazy and after a week or so half of the monkeys will have made a profit and rest are at loss which will be sent home. The process continues till 1 monkey is left which always invested in the right stocks and now a billionaire. That monkey is being called a success monkey. Now media comes into picture to make the whole story interesting. 

They pounce on this success monkey to understand its success principles and they will make out to finding some success traits this monkey has got. Some of them might be like eating more bananas, sitting in a corner of the cage, swinging upside down and some more insane traits.  Finally they judged that monkey by the traits it got and transformed him from a simple monkey to success monkey

Here is the key point - you are evaluating decision based on the outcome rather than on the decision process. When you observe keenly you might get to a point to understand all  the factors that influence a decision and its outcome. Specially when there is randomness and no chance of predicting, one of the key influential thing will be the "external factors". Bad outcome doesn't mean a bad decision and good outcome doesn't mean a good decision. Getting depressed because of wrong decision and applauding yourself for good decision, which might be just a coincidence isn't a right way of evaluating an out come. To evaluate outcomes perfectly, one should evaluate the factors and to know why they chose what they did.  Are those reasons rational and understandable. This way outcome's are analysed and evaluated. 

This story conveys that you need to analyse the factors which led to an outcome, before you judge a decision based on its outcome.

With the Influence of : "The art of thinking clearly" Rolf dobelli

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