Consuming less and better data

One of the things I’m trying to accomplish is to be more intentional with my choices. To make sure I’m investing in what matters to me. Not just doing what everyone is doing because that’s ”what you do”, assuming the default, no questions asked.


1. Selective ignorance

Because I can’t do everything, the first step is choosing what to follow and what to ignore. The things that don’t bring me enough value on the investment vs. benefits scale are the first to go.

He’s not on Twitter, he’s neutral about current events, he reads the news only in the Sunday paper in print and somehow manages to be up to date on the important issues and know more than most.

  • relevance over hype: if something is really big, it will make its way to us
  • quality over quantity: finding the tall poppies, curated sources, and info


2. Second-order effects

Every action has a reaction, right? Almost. Every action has multiple reactions.

  • real life example: using Google maps will get you from A to B, but in the long run, it will affect your spatial abilities
  • the same goes for every other little thing we choose to do and sometimes the second-order effects have a larger impact than the first ones


3. The stories that stick with us are the ones that confirm our previous narratives

This means that how we seek information, what we choose to see and even how we remember events are all influenced by what we already believe.

  • this happens even to the best of us, what we can do is acknowledge it
  • the next thing is trying to burst our bubble by seeking disagreement


4. Belief superiority vs. belief confidence

Talking about confirmation bias, we all believe what we know to be true. But some think their opinions are ”more correct” than those of others. Are people actually better informed?

  • people with the highest belief superiority tend to have the largest gap between their perceived and actual knowledge
  • our opinions are often not as justified as we believe – even for the opinions that we are most confident are better than other people’s


5. Information vs. reputation

Talking about curated sources, we have to take into consideration that this creates a paradox.

  • from the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others

Now, considering that: 1. we have limited resources, 2. every decision has multiple effects, 3. we all suffer from confirmation bias, 4. some of us even of belief superiority and 5. reputation makes us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced, how is one supposed to navigate through it all?

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| cover illustration by Lakshmi Mani.

Andra Magda

I write about why we do what we do, how we work, failure, personal experiments, creative industries. Get the highlights: the best content I write, read, watch or listen. Monthly.

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Andra Magda

Content Writer with a degree in Psychology, living in the heart of Transylvania.

I write about why we do what we do, how we work, failure, personal experiments, creative industries and send a monthly newsletter.