SFH #113: A Self-Serving Bias

It comes pre-installed

If you are unfamiliar with the term, it's okay. Here's a lens on a familiar hidden habit.🔍

Self-serving bias pretty much lives up to its name in that we protect and serve ourselves (more precisely, our self-worth and self-esteem) by assigning credit to ourselves for good outcomes and defer poor outcomes to factors external to us. By blaming outside influences for losses, we protect our self-esteem and our personal accountability is absolved. The key is to know the fine line between self-protection and avoiding responsibility.

How does this pertain to our health? 

To start, our ability to regulate our locus of control (LOC), whether it's more internal or external, will be directly related to our mental and emotional health. We are more attuned to our LOC if we have more mental and emotional stability. On the flip side, suppose we suffer from depression. In that case, we can quickly invert our self-serving bias: We attribute adverse events to something we contributed to and positive events to something outside of us, like luck.⚡️


Most illuminating, self-serving bias is a window into how we manage responsibility. If we want to take responsibility for our health, we need to understand what is in our control and what is not. Furthermore, how to properly take action on how we want to show up for ourselves. For example, if we're going to feel better and gain energy, are we diving into the details to gain ground on the areas of dis-ease in ourselves, or are we leaning into a familiar storyline that provides an external obstacle? I'm certainly not perfect, I've known both ends of this scale. ⚖️


In the end, if I want to make progress in my health, I know I need first 'get aware' and second 'get real.' Bringing awareness takes practice. A growth mindset is my favorite path to opening my eyes. However, the 'get real' is a bit harder. It’s because the ego is very good at taking the reigns of our built-in self-protection—bringing us full circle back to the self-serving bias. By starting with awareness of this existing natural habit, we can start to ask questions to uncover blind spots. Because in those blind spots is when we are given the opportunity to be vulnerable and learn or maintain to avoid and protect. 🤲🏽