Renowned Physicist Leonard Mlodinow, in his book “Subliminal” said, “We basically see what our unconscious wants us to see.”
If we want our relationship to be successful with someone, we will only want to see and listen to good things about him/her.
If you are a shareholder of Amazon, you will have a natural inclination to know good things about it. If you are not a fan of the Company, you are more likely to come across the opposite. Meaning, we tend to gather only the evidence that supports the point of view we hold.
In other words, WE SEE THINGS THROUGH A LENS OR A FILTER.
This self-made filter helps us gather the information that supports the viewpoints we hold at any given point about any given subject. This filter changes our reality of the world.
Ultimately, all that matters is whether the filter gives us a true picture or not. Hence, it is safe to say that if we attempt to change the filter with which we are viewing the world, we can change how the world is perceived to us. This is where it can be applied to our everyday life.
Take the classic example of glass being half-full or half-empty. The subject of this experiment is to not gauge the degree of fullness of the glass; the subject is the lenses from which we view the glass – being half-full or half-empty. If the glass is the metaphor for life, then the fullness of our lives isn’t such a big matter. As long as we perceive and believe that our lives have some degree of fullness and we choose to focus on it, we will be able to harness positivity. If not, we will tend to be negative.
Consider a time when you are in a negative state of mind. You could be upset over the early morning altercation with your spouse about driving the kids to school. You could be frustrated over the way a meeting went. You could be angry about your kid’s report card. You could be anxious about your loans. You could be regretful about the promises you made 10 years ago.
You could be feeling a mixture of emotions because of several things in your life not going according to plan.
In a day, hundreds of thoughts and emotions visit our conscious brain. They could be related to our past, our feelings about the future or the events of the present. They could be positive or a little or outright negative; they could also be vague and yet intense. How do you deal with the noise or how do you deal with how you view this noise?
As an example, you have an appraisal tomorrow and thoughts and visions of failing crowd your conscious mind. These thoughts will bring with them feelings of fear and general nervousness.
The above feelings might be because you are scared of the unknown and this might be real.
Or they might be because of filters or past conditionings (in this case):
- Maybe your experience showcases an unfair appraisal.
- Maybe appraisals remind you of your lack of communication in explaining your manager about your achievements?
- Maybe you overheard someone saying how unfair your boss becomes at the time of appraisals.
These filters makes you see the appraisal also as resulting in something similar. These mental conditionings from our past make us gather evidence that supports the point of view we hold but in fact, these are only external lenses through which we view the situation. Similar to how being an Amazon shareholder makes you only look, hear and read about the bright sides of the Company.
Identifying these filters and removing them will make you imagine the outcome of your appraisal more objectively and in an unbiased manner.
In any given situation:
- Understand that sometimes your state of mind is because of your lens / unconscious bias / past conditioning / opinion of others and so on.
- Since it is the above factor that counts, it is completely in your hands to choose how you look at things and how you react to a given situation.
- Find out where you stand at present, which means: how often do you choose to see the glass as half-full or half-empty because of an external filter? Take a decision, wipe the lens and go from there.
Following the above ways will make you feel empowered and in control. You will have the ability to rise above your mental battlefields.
Let not your filters show you a different version of the reality.