Toothbrush Theory

Note: I've recently updated this post and expanded it with methods on how to not fall into the trap of over-valuing our own ideas. Read it here.

I came across this theory on how we tend to value our own creation more than others while reading Dan Ariely's latest book, The Upside of Irrationality.

Toothbrush Theory

Everyone wants a toothbrush, everyone needs one, everyone has one, but no one wants to use anyone else's

It is also known as the Not-Invented-Here bias. This applies to things you buy, food you eat and even your ideas.

We tend to overrate and overvalue our own ideas and creations. In fact, we continue to do so even when someone else made it seems as if we came up with it ourselves.

This bias is useful in keeping us motivated and committed to pursue our own work but it could also blind us from better solutions and ideas out there.

On the other hand, it seems quite a number of Malaysians including myself tend to prefer products from other countries. I think we need to strike a balance on this and give some of the local products a chance.