Hindsight Fallacy


Randomly I’ve been just reading a new book from my friend with title “The Art of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli. It is stated in the cover of the book “99 fallacies in investment, business and personal things.” It is quiet interesting honestly. The first time I read this book directly triggered me a desire to finish it as soon as possible (even though it ended up with sleeping lol. Well come on it’s sunday though haha).

Then, another built habit I usually did, whenever I found an interesting book borrowed either from friend or library, I unwillingly balked to read the other books I was reading in. Since indeed I have bunch of time to finish the books I own which in the opposite way I get to finish the books I borrow in the finite time.

Back to “The Art of Thinking Clearly” book again. Regardless the bad and good review in the goodreads, but I could well-say this book successfully governed me to create this post as soon as I finished chapter fourteen which was about Hindsight bias.

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You know, to be honest, I totally hate a person which has a hindsight bias in his/her mind. Hindsight literally is an understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. Then what is the fallacy of hindsight bias? That when we THINK we are ALWAYS right about something after it has happened.

To simply understand what does it mean. I have a story to explain. A true story when I did traveled abroad with some friends.

At that time -let’s say- there are 5 of us which got lost in a tourist place. The case was we tried to go out from that huge place but we had no idea where the exit was. Then -by depending on remnant memories while we entered the place- we needed to choose either to go straight ahead or go back to the pavement we walked at before. All of us were direction-blind and fully forgot about where the exit door was. One thing we knew for sure that the exit doors existed were more than one.

I tried to lead the way and based on hunch said

“Trust me we should go straight! I am totally sure there will be an exit ahead”

My friend questioned

“Fif please, are you sure? Since this place is hugely big and we will double the walk if there is no exit over there. I think we should go back and exit by using our entering door before”

“No trust me. It will be farther if we go back there”

Then we walked straight and fortunately we found the exit door, BUT it was closed due to repair work. Then my friend shouted

“See! We should go back from the first. Now we triple our walk to exit”

#ENDSTORY

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Get the point? Okay I know I made a mistake over there, but that is what hindsight fallacy looks like. If my decision was right, we shortened our walk to exit, but unluckily the exit door were not opened, then we needed to go back and triply walk to the exit. And my friend blamed me for that. But wait how the heck I know the exit was closed.

In Islam itself, we are forbiddingly not allowed to say “What If…” in term of redoing something that has happened in the past. Whatever happened happened. We are not able to create the time machine to fix it.

This book said, try to create a diary before doing something, and count how many times you fail to predict the result. It will be uncountable. Yes everybody makes mistakes and something could happen unpredictably. Don’t try to undermine them to do something in the other way like we always be right of all the time.

We need to move forward in time and try to be wise while facing the mistakes that people made. Decision must be decided in a rapid time and whatever we choose we must have been ready about whatever the risks will come up. Avoid judging from hindsight and be a person who always look forward. Learn from the past does not mean we need to redo it. Get the insight from them and plan brightly what should we do for the future.[]

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