4 Additional Reasons–Fundamental Reasons–People Sabotage Their Own Immigration Goals Through Procrastination

In a recent blog post, we noted that even though some individuals or organizations will receive the most persuasive reasons to start their immigration case, some of them will continue to say, “I will do it tomorrow.”
For some reason, some individuals and organizations won’t–seemingly can’t–start their immigration case(s) until some serious, impending government action pushes them.
What is the underlying cause that prevents some people and organizations from acting until it is too late or almost too late?
To answer this question, let’s look to the field of behavioral economics. There are number of answers from this field. We’ll look at four of them now: the overconfidence effect, the planning fallacy, choice overload, and the crowd mentality.
  1. The Overconfidence Effect

The overconfidence effect is the habit of regularly and greatly overestimating one’s knowledge and abilities. You can see the overconfidence effect when someone’s confidence in their ability is greater than their actual performance indicates it should be. Often, researchers measure the overconfidence effect by having an experiment participant answer questions and then asking the participant to rate how confident he or she is in the answers.
In one study, professional investors had to pick one stock, out of two, as being likely to outperform the other.  On occasions when the professionals stated they were 100 percent confident in their picks, they were actually right less than 12 percent of the time.
This is overconfidence.
The overconfidence effect relates to immigration procrastination: individuals and organizations are quite confident that they will just figure things out whenever push comes to shove. In many cases, they are overconfident.
  1. The Planning Fallacy

The planning fallacy reflects the mental shortcoming that we see when we take on a project and then try to estimate how much time will be needed to complete it, an then see that our best judgment drastically fell short of the time actually needed.

With regard to immigration cases, people often think they can get their cases sorted out much more quickly and easily than is realistic. For this reason, individuals and organizations delay the case, thinking, well, I still have time to accomplish my goal.

To avoid it falling victim to the planning fallacy, many project managers suggest multiplying the estimated time by at least a factor of two.

  1. Choice Overload

Choice overload is the phenomenon where we find it difficult to make a choice if presented with numerous options. This phenomenon has many potential consequences, including deferring the choice and not making a choice at all. Choice overload may refer to either choice attributes (i.e., features of a product or service) or options.

With regard to immigration cases, people and organizations may experience choice overload when deciding whether to hire this or that law firm.

  1. The Crowd Mentality

Going against the crowd lights up a specific part of an individual’s brain, the brain’s center for emotional processing and fear. So, people adopt or take part in group think. Group think has many symptoms including (1) illusion of invulnerability, (2) collective rationalization in which members of the group discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions, (3) belief in the inherent morality (members of the group believe in the inherent rightness of their cause), and (4) the illusion of unanimity.

As it pertains to immigration, often people delay starting their immigration case, because of group think.

The Takeaway

Now, all of this talk of mental stumbling blocks may seem gloomy. And it is gloomy, to some extent. The world does appear a lot brighter when we have inflated views of ourselves. But having these inflated views also contributes mightily to us knowing there is work to be done and putting it off as long as possible. So, if your goal is to achieve immigration success, and a more accurate view of yourself helps you get there more quickly, then this talk of mental stumbling blocks will prove fruitful, and a help in fostering the future you dream of.