Deadliest animals and availability bias

Availability bias is a mental shortcut we use when evaluating a topic or decision by relying on immediate examples that come to mind. For example, below is a chart with the planet’s deadliest animals in 2015.

Before you look at it, what animals come to mind when you think of deadly animals?

I think I might have had lions/tigers, snakes and sharks in some order.

The deadliest animals were mosquitoes and humans by a distance. The shark attack number is the lowest of the lot. But, I was drawing from the fact that I have seen more pieces of news about Shark attacks than Jellyfish killings. And, that is a classic example of Availability bias.

Similarly, the world is more peaceful than it has ever been. And, yet, politicians and the media would love to have us believe that we are in constant danger. Hearing something regularly doesn’t make it true.

Thanks to my good friend Bill Gates for sharing this graphic (just kidding of course). And, congratulations to the Gates foundation for leading the charge in the fight against malaria and contributing to the decline of Malaria by 57% in sub Saharan Africa.

Think-week – The 200 words project

I hope you’re having a nice weekend. Here’s this week’s 200 word idea thanks to Essentialism by Greg McKeown on Linkedin, Susan Heathfield on (as a part of what seems to be Bill Gates weekend at ALearningaDay)..

Bill Gates has a bi-annual ritual called “think-week.” As Microsoft CEO, prior to each think week, Gates has his assistants collected papers “from every corner of Microsoft,” according to what they thought his priorities should be.

He would then spend a week in a cottage in the woods where friends and family were banned. And, he’d spend his days reading papers on proposals from Microsoft’s employees, studying technology and thinking about the bigger picture. The week was then followed by a flood of e-mail messages to his colleagues and employees about new ideas, old ideas, existing projects, and proposed ones.

He started this in the 1980s and stuck to it through the height of Microsoft’s expansion. No matter how busy or frenetic, he created time and space to seclude himself for a week to do nothing but read and think about the bigger picture. Today, he still takes the time away from the daily distractions of running his foundation to simply think.

As author Greg McKeown points out, “whether you can invest two hours a day, two weeks a year, or even just five minutes every morning, it is important to make space to escape in your busy life.”

Think-weekSource and thanks to:

‘I think that if we spend a little bit of time every day cut off from the noise – it could be walking, sitting in meditation, journaling, exercise, or just staring at the sky – just a little bit of time reconnecting with you without your title, your obligations, your responsibilities, the things that plague you all day long, that would enable you to build a foundation and then work your tail off.’ – Jerry Colonna on