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The frequency illusion

Have you heard of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon? It's also known as the recency illusion or the frequency illusion.

It manifests like this: you want to buy a car. This will be your first one, and you know nothing about different brands. You settle on one model after some research. When you go out to buy groceries, you notice the same model parked on your street. Shortly afterward you see one of your friend's relatives drives the same one. Finally, in traffic next to you, there are not one, but two such specimens and one of them in the same color you chose for yourself! Suddenly, they seem to be everywhere!

This is a well-known cognitive bias, and I often fall prey to it. Recently this effect got triggered by the concept of The Mastermind Group.

The Mastermind Group (or whatever you call it)

Last year, I was thinking of pooling together some people with a common goal of personal growth in what I wanted to call a support group. I found a fellow traveler on The Startup Book Club Forum, so I learned I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Shortly after that, in one of the communities I attend, one of the members shared a link to Sinem Günel's "The Power of Mastermind Groups and how You can benefit from them." At this point everywhere around me, I saw people starting mastermind groups.

What's more, in a newsletter from one of the author's I follow, the author advertised an online course he would be launching. And part of the package was... the access to the mastermind group dedicated to the course!

You can learn more about the concept and some best practices in an excellent video that explains it.

If you have serious goals that you want to accomplish but struggle with accountability or prioritization, like I do, setting up such a support group can help you, and your peers succeed. All the excuses you keep telling yourself may not stand the critique of your supporters. You'll have to be honest both with them and with yourself. Solving problems together can also bring solutions sooner than working on your own. Do you want to try it?


Among the cool books I've read since the last issue are "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink and "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind " by Yuval Noah Harari. The former is a very exciting read about how we might misunderstand motivation. It is a bit overoptimistic and assumes that most people have good intentions (which might be true) without taking many precautions against those who don't. Still, it's fascinating to see how experiments proved that what we think works, fails to work. A well-known example is that paying volunteers to do their job reduces their output and satisfaction.

The latter book, Sapiens, shows the history of humankind. History dating back to our ape ancestors and history without judgment. All of the significant events in history are shown without much bias, and both their pros and cons are equally highlighted. When research cannot provide a plausible conclusion, the author spares us his point of view. Contrary to most history books this impartial approach engages the reader to draw own conclusions.

On my part, I wrote a piece about how stories shape our perception. It's called "The Beautiful Power of Storytelling," and it was inspired by a visit to two museums in Stockholm. Both were equally impressive in terms of their design and samples, but only one can be described as genuinely awesome. The main difference between them? Storytelling!

Thanks for being here,
Piotr Gaczkowski

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Copyright © 2019 Piotr Gaczkowski, All rights reserved.

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