The Einstellung effect ! The first step to getting things right is the willingness to be wrong


Einstellung literally means “setting” or “installation” as well as a person’s “attitude” in German.


The Einstellung effect is the negative effect of previous experience when solving new problems. It is the development of a mechanized state of mind. Often called a problem solving set, Einstellung refers to a person’s predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist.


A phenomena that is very similar to the Einstellung is ‘ functional fixedness ‘. Stemming from cognitive bias, functional fixedness is an impaired ability to discover a new use for an object, owing to the subject’s previous use of the object in a functionally dissimilar context. Little wonder we have the classic bureaucratic impediment called ‘ we have always done it this way‘.


It is said that the first step to getting things right is the willingness to be wrong. If you want to do anything significant, be prepared to look foolish. The set in stone defaults blinds us of taking better, faster paths to a desired outcome. Remember that the brain is the laziest of all our organs in our body. Hence Psychology 101 has this to say ” the brain remembers what it least expects, so deliver the unexpected “.


You see a lot of advertising messages and marcom initiatives biting the dust because of this default thinking. Inspite of millions of dollars spent.

We favour the comfortable domicile of conviction than the uncertainty of doubt. History repeats itself but somehow we never learn from history. Our brain can be our biggest obstacle and be adamant at NOT looking at other solutions even if they are significantly better.


Discomfort or uncertainty are both proxies for progress and the more pattern interrupt(where the conventional Elevator Pitch is NOT about you, but the person that you are pitching to) we bring to life, however contrarian it may seem, we stand a much better chance of making decisions that are informed and contextual.


The wise only possess ideas; the greater part of mankind are possessed by them. ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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