Kennon-Green & Co. Global Asset Management and Value Investing

Trying to Disprove Your Own Ideas

A family member came by today and the course of the conversation got me thinking about the reasons that I have managed to achieve everything I set out to do with far less effort than should be required, and succeed, whereas most people never do.  One of the secrets, I think, comes down to the way I frame questions.

Most people, when they have decided upon a course of action, look for confirmation of their hypothesis from other people.  They ask questions of their friends, family, co-workers, and mentors, but subconsciously, they frame those questions to only reach the conclusion that they, themselves, desire to hear.  This inevitably leads one to believe they have sought input and wisdom whereas, in reality, they have merely attempted to delude themselves into thinking their actions are prudent based upon feedback that was faulty in its premise.

In my own case, whenever I start thinking about launching a new business, making an investment, or proceeding with a course of action, my primary objective is to disprove my own conclusions.  In other words, I look for reasons not to do something.  Only then, after intense scrutiny, do I proceed with a small fraction of the ideas that were originally considered.  I attempt to avoid, at all costs, first conclusion bias.