From our first days in school, we have been trained to have an answer. It becomes part of our unconscious behavior. We do it all of the time.
After school, the emphasis begins to change from our answer to our explanation. Why did this happen? What went wrong? Why do you suggest doing it this way?
How the question is asked is unimportant. Our belief in the certainty of our explanation is.
We have talked before about how imperfect we are. Now I want to focus on how our certainty of our explanation limits us and actually anchors many of the subsequent decisions we make in a situation.
It’s true, our explanation will justify either our actions or lack of action. This protection is given free to us from our ego. We need to feel good about ourselves.
But I find that our explanations trap us into a prison cell that is very difficult to escape from. The irony is it’s all of our own doing. When we say that something didn’t work because of this or that, we surrender to the belief that what we were hoping to achieve can never be obtained.
Once we believe we understand what did happen or what is happening, we automatically have a bias to every future decision or action we take in a given situation. Never once do we stop to think about other possibilities because our explanation gave us the confidence that this is the only way things could be looked at. (How absurd!)
When data is presented to us that harms our position or efforts, we quickly explain that this is normal and we shouldn’t worry about it. Our explanation absolves us from trying again.
Our parents and grandparents actually had it right. They were not as analytical as we have been taught to be. So they didn’t trap themselves. The next day appeared and they kept moving, kept trying something, kept persevering. Sometimes successfully, most times not in that day.
Their belief system anchored their thinking into understanding what was important for them to achieve and keep striving for. They didn’t have the benefit of an education that taught us how to analyze and verbalize our thinking.
They kept things much more simple. Maybe we should too.