My Brain is So Smart It’s Stupid

Ok, I’m about to talk about a very specific cross section of brain functions. If this doesn’t resonate with you, no worries.

The cross section is right where overzealous signal suppression and perfectionism meet. I’ll explain.

The brain only processes and saves information that will be useful at a later date. And it allows the rest to pass by unnoticed. How?

As of 2019, MIT neuroscientists identified the brain circuit that helps us do that. The prefrontal cortex controls this circuit. It filters out unwanted background noise and distracting stimuli.

This is the signal suppression. Every healthy brain does this. It’s part of what makes our brains so smart. Until they’re not.

My brain seems to have an over eager efficiency. A panache for disposing of useful or important information. Then, and this is where perfectionism comes in, when I need it, I can’t remember the info in its exact correctness. And that bothers me. Because the details matter.

The result is I either put off doing something because I know it’ll take too long to go find the exact information I need. Or, I go searching for the details and the delay derails momentum.

I’ll give you an example.

Here’s some specific, useful information if you’re analyzing e-commerce conversions. The most recent data tells us that:

  • The average landing page converts at around 2.35%. 
  • The sites in the top 25% convert at 5.31% and above.
  • And landing pages in the top 10% convert at 11.45% and up.

That’s some very helpful, highly specific, information. 

Now, let a couple of months pass. Then, in the moment that info would be useful, it’ll be on the tip of my tongue. (quite frustrating) Just vague enough to stop me from utilizing it.

What can you do? Is there a brain hack for this?

I’ve come up with my own 2 step system for dealing with this. It’s not perfect, it requires a compromise, but it does work.

I’m going to share it with you, except not in this article. (It’s getting too long.)

Click HERE for Part 2, where I’ll share the system with you.

– Zac Smith, VC