By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

Thinking: How does social media fuel the “grass is always greener” problem?

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Comparative Illusion < Cognitive Bias < Four Mind Traps < Critical Thinking

Cognitive Bias: Comparative Illusion

Ever scroll through social media and feel like everyone else’s life is a perfectly curated vacation compared to your, well, regular life? Join the club! This green-eyed monster feeling is actually a sneaky brain trick, a cognitive bias. The “grass is always greener” problem is a classic case of Comparative Illusion, one of the sneakiest cognitive biases out there! And social media is like fuel on the fire, making us think everyone else’s life is a highlight reel.

Think about it: people only post their best moments. It’s like a never-ending stream of “look at me, I’m amazing!” But what about the mundane days, the struggles, and the failures? Yeah, those don’t get as many likes, do they?

So, we’re left comparing our behind-the-scenes moments to everyone else’s edited highlight reels. No wonder we feel like our lives are dull, our problems are insignificant, and our struggles are trivial! It’s like comparing our rough draft to someone else’s published bestseller.

But here’s the thing: everyone has their own struggles, regardless of how perfect their Instagram feed looks. The trick to life is to enjoy the journey and remember the Stoic principle of appreciating what you have because you once didn’t have it. This wisdom, emphasized by philosophers like Epictetus, teaches us to find contentment in our current circumstances. Remember, the “grass is always greener” problem is just that – a problem, not reality!

To explore more pitfalls of the mind, take the 10-minute deep dive into The Four Mind Traps: Logical Fallacies, Cognitive Bias, Heuristics, and Stereotypes.


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