The Status Quo Bias

The Idea

Contributed by @philhagspiel |  Edited and curated by @philhagspiel

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We resist change by default.

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Finding Truth

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Self-Awareness

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Belief Formation

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As humans, we tend towards liking things as they are because we perceive the current state of affairs and current situations as the way they ought to be. Psychologically, we tend towards interpreting changes as losses.

This effect underlies the power of default settings, why we often have a hard time letting go or why we don't want to give up things we have — even if they don't serve us.

Likewise, the status quo bias explains why we often have problems to think about and trigger changes in social norms, why we irrationally stick to suboptimal solutions in business, political and social contexts, and why we usually resist scientific research on the fringes of ethics.

"Question the status quo at all times, especially when things are going well."

— Gary Kasparov

“In spite of warnings, nothing much happens until the status quo becomes more painful than change.”

— Laurence J. Peter

“The status quo is persistent and resistant. It exists because everyone wants it to. Everyone believes that what they've got is probably better than the risk and fear that come with change.”

— Seth Godin

"Every threat to the status quo is an opportunity in disguise."

— Jay Samit

Explore

➞ To get a deep understanding of the status quo bias and what we know about it, go through this Wikipedia article.

➞ For a full picture of how the status quo bias translates into everyday life, read up on loss aversion, the endowment effect and system justification.

➞ This video by Dan Ariely is a great introduction to how loss aversion and the endowment effect work.

Resources

If this idea resonates with you, some of these resources might add value to your life.

LinkNAMEFormatAuthor
Predictably Irrational
Book
Dan Ariely
Thinking Fast And Slow
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Daniel Kahnemann
Factfulness
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Hans Rosling
The Sovereign Individual
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James Dale Davidson
VSI: Thinking & Reasoning
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Jonathan Evans
Antifragility
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Nassim Taleb
Skin In The Game
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Nassim Taleb
Fooled By Randomness
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Nassim Taleb
Principles
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Ray Dalio
59 Seconds - Think A Little Change A Lot
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Richard Wiseman
The Great Mental Models (vol. 2)
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Shane Parrish
The Great Mental Models (vol. 1)
Book
Shane Parrish
Enlightenment Now
Book
Steven Pinker
21 Lessons For The 21st Century
Book
Yuval Noah Harari
Paul Graham
Blog
Paul Graham
Farnam Street
Blog
Shane Parrish
Lesswrong
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Edge.org
Blog
Untools.co
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The Systems Thinker
Blog
Modern Wisdom
Podcast
Christ Williamson
You Are Not So Smart
Podcast
David McRaney
The Portal
Podcast
Eric Weinstein
Lex Fridman Podcast
Podcast
Lex Fridman
The Knowledge Project
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Shane Parrish
Philosophize This!
Podcast
Stephen West
Conversations With Tyler
Podcast
Tyler Cowen
Philosophy For Our Times
Podcast
Hidden Brain
Podcast
Kurzgesagt
YouTube Channel
TED-ed
YouTube Channel
Crash Course: Statistics
YouTube Channel
3Blue1Brown
YouTube Channel
Quanta Magazine
YouTube Channel
Primer
YouTube Channel
Veritasium
YouTube Channel
Talks at Google
YouTube Channel
Vsauce
YouTube Channel
Brilliant.org
Courses