We go through the days of our lives without ever considering whether the way we are thinking about something is accurate or reasonable. Whether or not our perceptions are valid. Notice I did not say right. Mostly because, depending on our life’s experiences and expectations, what you value or feel is important could vary.
The things that I have learned to fear most are the stories I tell myself about anything I see, want, participate, or wish to engage in. They can be so compelling as to mislead us into making mistakes in the actions we take or the beliefs we carry with us when engaging with others.
Conclusions, rapid ones, are the output of the stories we tell ourselves. Quick inferences that embed themselves so quickly in us that we never think they need to be tested. Then we quickly defend our thinking by assuring ourselves and others that our intuition is good. In truth, our intuition is less accurate than we think.
Why does this occur so much? Simply because we never keep a scorecard on ourselves through our lives. We never write down whether or not the belief we had about a situation turned out to be accurate. I am guessing that if we did, we would be both surprised and embarassed how many times we were wrong.
What can we do to reverse this trend? Ask more questions before making up your mind. Test your thinking by sharing with others, who have experience or subject matter knowledge, your assumptions and your beliefs. State explicitly, what outcome you hope to achieve and the reasons why you believe you will succeeed and then test it against their feedback.
Strongly believe that you will benefit by not being as sure of yourself in most situations. Your perceptions could be wrong. That there is always more information that may change your thinking if known. For this reason, I am always most scared of what I don’t know. Not in a way that cripples me from making decisions for I know one can never have perfect information.
Be confident enough to be more open with your thinking even when you feel strongly about a direction, a belief, or an outcome you desire. My caution to you is to be humble enough to listen to what feedback or pushback you get so that you have an opportunity to adjust and enhance your thinking to help make you more effective.
Creating some doubt in our thinking before acting can be a good thing by slowing us down a bit. By making us look hard for what we don’t know or understand. They would be helpful to know if we could find it out before taking our next step.
As with most things, it’s both complicated and easy. but most certainly worth trying.