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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

The Wolf

The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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Sienna Smiley
Staff Writer

Encourage challenge, embrace failure

Photo+by+Olivia+Beauchemin
Photo by Olivia Beauchemin

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, favor and recall information in a way that supports one’s prior beliefs or values. It is a real thing which everybody, whether they like it or not, constantly employs in their life. When justifying actions or defending religious and especially political beliefs, confirmation bias is not just something that polarizes people from one another but something that polarizes us from ourselves.
Everybody has had experiences that are unique to them, memories that nobody else possesses. There are a lot of unique talents, physical abilities or simply knowledge on topics that one person in any given friend group has, which none of the rest do. Despite this, almost every human — and especially those in Gen-Z — stubbornly highlights and dwells on our inabilities and insecurities, often comparing ourselves to the best of the best we can find on the internet, while ignoring all of the things that make us unique on the scale that practically matters.
While there is nothing wrong with acknowledging flaws, mistakes and regrets, it is clear that when one thinks back on their life thus far, they will likely find and only pick out specific events that align with their mood at the time. When we are feeling down or neutral, we focus on the negative and bland; when things are going our way, we tend to reflect on other high points. Confirmation bias allows us to look back on our lives past 11 p.m. and only see all of the things we messed up on, opportunities we did not take and times we have generally felt unworthy. We forget all of the things we have and have done that we are proud of, worked for and that make us unique. Accepting oneself as an individual in the most true and brutally honest way possible is the first step to avoid this endless void of negativity.
Not only is this a dangerous path of thinking in the moment — feeling as though you have done nothing with your life — but it is similarly detrimental to one’s future. Once a person convinces themselves relentlessly that failure at new things is a guarantee, and that it should be run from, they lessen their chances of making any meaningful progress with themselves, as they become too scared to take any first steps.
Fearing to recreate the time when you did badly on a project, when you couldn’t curl the weight you hoped you could, when you lost a race and felt shame, when you felt an inability to do what everyone else can, is a trait of thinking that not only loses sight of the actual goal and creates stress, but is detrimental to actual productivity and the path forward to improvement. The happiest people are those who seek out and strive to do challenging things, who take actions that they are uncertain about.
I doubt there is anything written here that you have not heard or even thought about before. And while you will be told it many times through a friend, teacher or some self-improvement channel on YouTube, the only way that these rules will have a genuine, positive impact on your life is if you learn to remind yourself. Remind yourself that life is too short to spend hours caring about the things that you cannot control. Remind yourself of all the times you succeeded and all the things you have achieved that you are proud of.
At this point in our lives, we have the ability to branch out in our interests, work on ourselves, take day-trips on impulse and, most importantly, set ourselves up to take on new challenges and take risks. At worst, the result is a new experience and a more thorough understanding of oneself.

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About the Contributor
Alex Ehrhart
Alex Ehrhart, News Editor
My name is Alex! I run track & cross country, play guitar, trumpet, and am really nerdy. I joined Newspaper because my brother did it for years and enjoyed it. I am pretty decent at writing, so I thought it might be nice to try.

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