“We live, we die, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.”
~Edward Cole, The Bucket List
How do you view reality?
Step back and take a big deep breath.
We look at our phones. A text from a friend upsets us. A political belief throws us into anger. The President tweets. Some of us scream. Some of us applaud. We have good days. We have bad days. We have good moments and bad moments. We miss a plane. We forget a lunch with an important client. We lose our job.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
I have an open way of believing I want to share with you.
Try to view things that happen to you in life as if you’re on a bus. You are going from stop to stop. People get on the bus. People get off the bus. The bus stops. The bus hits potholes. Sometimes the bus breaks down. But inevitably, it keeps going. After all, the wheels have to keep moving. Those wheels are built to go round and round. People have places to go! Right? Hmm.
That’s how I view things nowadays. It’s grand.
Say you’re sitting on the bus and someone nearby says something that goes against something you think to be true. It could be about life, the world, the next bus stop, or anything really.
You’ve got your laptop on hand (of course). You bring up a google webpage to see if what they said is true. How likely are you to click the first thing that backs your belief?
I’m betting very likely.
This is called Confirmation Bias. We naturally seek out the information that backs what we believe about our lives and then in turn assume it to be true.
When we all start seeing how much we view things within our own little filters, and that the way we see things isn’t necessarily how they really are, things in reality will start changing rapidly.
The problem is, we’re all trapped into thinking we know how to think. But we don’t. We have very little awareness of the base reality behind all of this so the best thing we can do view it with an open mind.
It’s my belief if you view life with a filter that takes each moment with open minded belief, you start to realize that certain things you thought were true, weren’t necessarily true at all.
The bus stops. New passengers get on board. You take the new bus passengers in, you ask questions, you smile, you ask them what song they’re listening to, or the name of their cat.
It’s so easy to negatively judge people. We are very prone to form a snap belief about a new passengers based on a very oversimplified bias we notice or discover about them. Maybe they start dancing in the bus aisle with the boombox. We naturally might think they are bombastic or crazy. This is known as The Halo Effect.
Think about what happens when a supervisor evaluates the performance of a subordinate. The supervisor may give prominence to a single characteristic of the employee, such as enthusiasm, and allow the entire evaluation to be colored by how he or she judges the employee on that one characteristic. Even though the employee may lack the requisite knowledge or ability to perform the job successfully, if the employee’s work shows enthusiasm, the supervisor may very well give him or her a higher performance rating than is justified by knowledge or ability.
Source: (Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M., Applied Social Psychology, 2012)
It is so easy to judge a person based on an oversimplified judgement we’ve made. Be aware of this.
Also, one bus stop does not effect the next bus top. Every bus stop is a new world. History does not repeat itself. Ever. If you think it does, you’ve fallen into what’s called The Gambler’s Fallacy.
On August 13, 1918, during a game of roulette at the Monte Carlo Casino, the ball fell on black 26 times in a row. In the wake of the streak, gamblers lost millions of francs betting against black. They assumed, quite fallaciously, that the streak was caused by an imbalance of randomness in the wheel, and that Nature would correct for the mistake.
No mistake was made, of course. Past random events in no way affect future ones, yet people regularly intuit that they do.
Source: 10 Problems With How We Think
The past not does effect the future at all. We just like to think it does. There are always new and different variables to consider in every moment.
The bus stops at a red light. Something exciting is happening on the street outside the bus windows. Everyone starts watching. Some get out of their seats. Gosh what could it be? The curiosity gets the best of you. You lean over to take a look. This is known as Herd Mentality.
Some people might remember everyone buying Furbies. They were a big hit! Everyone wanted them. Go a little further back to when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures were popular. What about slap bracelets? Remember those?
When a group starts doing something we humans are much more prone to jump into and agree with the fray.
The red light turns green. The bus moves. Everyone takes their seat. There’s more stops to make after all! Time has to keep moving forward. If it doesn’t people won’t make their stops. Keep those wheels turning. It has to keep going inevitably. That is life.
Be aware of how Confirmation Bias, The Halo Effect, The Gambler’s Fallacy, and Herd Mentality may effect you in your day to day living.
Find the love, peace, happiness, and joy in your life.
It’s these mysterious cognitive plateaus that we don’t pay attention. They hide out. It’s hard to spot them. But unfortunately often they cause a massive ripple effect. They can very quickly lead to false beliefs and negative bias.
After all, when this ripple effect happens, people might not make their stops. And dangit, we have to make our stops…right?
You may be asking, where does the bus go at the end of the day? What causes the bus to move? Who built the bus?
That my friends is a discussion for another day.
See you soon.
By Geoff Pilkington
You can connect with me at: www.geoffreypilkington.com