Jeremy Côté


I am very good at finding the bad aspects of any given idea or thing. I wouldn’t call myself cynical. Rather, I have a tendency to find ways to justify not doing something. This has to do with my reluctance to try new things, and I suspect I’m not the only one who does this.

Imagine the following scenario.

You’re presented with an amazing opportunity, but there is something you have to do. Maybe you can see that it will take a lot of time, money, or effort. Maybe it will just take a new frame of mind. Whatever the reason, your excitement for doing the thing is tempered by this other consideration.

Ultimately, you decide it’s just not worth the hassle, so you give up this amazing opportunity.

From the outside, this seems ridiculous. Who cares if it will take work? This is an amazing opportunity! And yet, from the perspective of the person, they can’t see past the negative aspects. This is what I mean by “discounting”.

Instead of looking at the positive benefits of this opportunity, people who discount focus more on the negatives. This skews the perception of the opportunity, and it is why some don’t take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

I’m not trying to be harsh here. In fact, I am one of these people. Even throughout my education, I was great at discounting every opportunity I got. I only took what was easy and did not require much effort. Why? Because I didn’t have to focus on the negatives.

Discounting is a really bad habit to have, because it will rob you of many chances in life. As such, the best thing I can suggest is to have a supportive cast of people in your life who will be there to set you straight when you find yourself discounting. They can act as a counterbalance to make sure you see opportunities in a fair light.

The objective here isn’t to become an optimist. Rather, it’s to make sure you give the appropriate weight to both the positive and negative aspects of opportunities. Don’t let yourself lose the chance to have great experiences due to a bias.