The first line of defense against confirmation bias is simply to be aware that it exists. Keep track of situations in which you find yourself or others making decisions that appear to be influenced by confirmation bias. Be especially alert whenever you are strongly motivated to reach a certain goal, or have a lot riding on a particular outcome. Listen to the words you and others use for questions or answers to see if they are biased toward a desired answer. Use aggressive skepticism to force yourself to consider the negative side of what might happen if things don’t work out as you hoped. For pilots, the answer may be that you could die. If you find yourself tempted to take off or continue based on grasping for a tiny positive hope while ignoring overwhelming risks, ask yourself if the outcome you are seeking is worth destroying your aircraft or dying. Sometimes in military or search-and-rescue operations the answer may be “yes,” but in civilian life that is seldom the case. Finally, make a pact with yourself and any crew members that, if there is ever any question about how to proceed, you will take the most conservative response until you can come up with a definitive answer one way or the other.