Todd was having trouble with his computer, so he called a technician for help. The tech arrived and heavily flopped into Todd’s chair. He immediately commandeered the computer and began typing furiously. He had the air of someone who had something more important to do than fiddle with Todd’s computer.
After a few minutes, the tech identified the problem. He told Todd, “I think we have an ID-10-T problem.” Todd had no idea what that meant, but felt obliged to agree with the expert, “Yeah, I see what you mean. What should we do about it?”
The problem was due to a user error, so the tech walked Todd through the steps to avoid the problem in the future.
It wasn’t until after the technician had left that Todd realized what the code ID-10-T meant: IDIOT. He shared the story with me and we had a good laugh over it.
There are times when we have too little knowledge or information to make a sound decision. We can’t be experts at everything. Unfortunately, having too little information is one of the five triggers of autopilot thinking, which is a cognitive processing system filled with blind spots (e.g. biases and fallacies). I call these autopilot triggers momentary lapses of reason because the autopilot thought process is typically devoid of analytical thinking or reason.
How does one solve an ID-10-T problem? You could better inform yourself or, if there isn’t the time or desire to learn more about the topic, seek the opinion of an expert.
There are two issues to be aware of when receiving advice from a single expert: 1) the expert’s opinion is influenced by his or her own biases and fallacies, and 2) we are vulnerable to influence tactics by people we consider to have greater expertise than us. Therefore, it is important to get advice from multiple experts and triangulate the answer. This approach helps to weed out the biases held by any single expert and eliminates the influence of any one person.
There will be times when we find ourselves on the wrong end of an ID-10-T problem. It doesn’t mean that we are idiots. It just means we lack the knowledge or expertise to make a good decision on a certain topic. We need a little help; like when Todd reached out to that friendly computer technician.
When you find yourself in an ID-10-T spot, know that you are susceptible to autopilot thinking. Awareness is your greatest defense against mistakes made due to autopilot thinking. Engage your analytical thinking by triangulating the problem with multiple experts. That will enable you to make a sound decision by comparing relevant facts from different sources.
And if one of your experts has identified your issue as an ID-10-T, don’t take it personally. You’re in good company.
If you would like to read more about the five momentary lapses of reason that trigger autopilot thinking (and learn what to do about them), check out my new book, PERSUADED, now available on Amazon.