We love the comfort zones of similarity (based on what we see) and of ease (based on how we think). Rounding out our list of Retro IQ comfort zones is the comfort of predictability (based on what we do). Human beings have a strong need for predictability, partly resulting from our ability to think abstractly, which allows us to contemplate the future (and anticipate and try to avoid adversity), and partly from our deeply engrained belief that predictability leads to security. If that is true, then unpredictability leads to uncertainty. Facing uncertainty leads to feelings of insecurity, or a “fear of the unknown,” which we try to reduce by rejecting the thing or event causing unpredictability. Basically, we need to know what will happen if we do something before we actually do it. If there is a new behavior that we can execute, unless we have some certainty about the results, we will default to old behaviors regardless of how attractive the consequences of that new behavior is.
This chapter is about how we choose conscious behaviors based on the predictability of the outcomes. For the purpose of understanding conscious behavior in the context of predictability, a behavior is defined as any action that you choose including actions that you choose to not take. Whereas the two previous chapters focused on the more or less unconscious comforts of similarity and cognitive ease, this chapter focuses on conscious actions, behaviors that we are far more capable of tuning into and changing then we are of changing our implicit associations, interpretations, or heuristics.