Our current knowledge dictates our beliefs, interpretations, and reactions to stimuli.
… our beliefs, interpretations, and reactions to stimuli combine to create our entire existence. They dictate our moods and drive our ability to earn a living.
As we travel into adulthood, we’ll often find ourselves in a place where we’re not able to adequately care for all of our concerns or produce enough of an income to live a good life and lead others to do the same. Our cultural reaction to this is to either work harder, or anesthetize ourselves with distractive technology such as T.V, social media, or email.
In today’s complex knowledge-based world neither hard work or distraction will work.
Sooner or later, the ambitious will discover that to better care for their concerns, they’ll need better knowledge. Better knowledge means better learning. Before we can learn better, we must first become aware of what stops us from learning. Our very own psychology.
It is our psychology that creates and controls the lens from which we process everything. Like an overprotective mother, it works constantly to conserve our energy and protect our fragile egos. In fact, it’s at work right now telling you that you already know all of this stuff. It’s doing that so that you don’t have to do anything like take notes or launch into any new actions after reading this paper. It just wants you to stay home.
It’s Time To Move Out
Right now, your psychology is at work preventing you from seeing certain details just so that you don’t have to change your plans tonight, or realize that something you’ve believed for years has been ineffective or or plain wrong. You are your psychology’s perfect little child, and it’s at work to keep you that way.
I don’t think that’s any way to live life, and today I invite you to move out. Move out into a world of change, transformation, and freedom. It’s time to get out of your own head.
Don’t believe me? Of course not. That’s just your psychology trying to get you to stop reading so that you can bounce to the next distraction on the internet.
Well, go ahead and see for yourself. Here are a few things that your “Momma” doesn’t want you to know.
5 Things Our Psychology Hides From Us
Cognitive dissonance is that uncomfortable feeling you get when your brain is holding on to two contradictory ideas at the same time. “I want that new car” vs. “I should be saving for retirement.”
This discomfort influences our beliefs, and will drive us to rationalize or construct logical justifications to support the belief or action that came first or produces immediate gratification. “I deserve a new car because I’m working so hard to save money for retirement.”
Our memories are partial records of our interpretations of previous experiences. I have memory listed here as a psychological block to learning because we’re often overly dependent upon it.
When we rely on memory, instead of something like taking and organizing notes, we’re not just putting our faith and confidence in our ability to record the experience or new information accurately - we’re also assuming that we’ll later be able to recall it accurately.
Relying on memory is often unprofessional and lazy. It's typically a way our psychology takes the easy way out as it lets commitments and responsibilities flow in one ear and right out the other.
Because of the massive amounts of data we process in a day, every one of us listens with a set of “filters” based on our experiences, needs, desires, and interests. These filters are really very useful, and can be strategically used to produce and maintain focus; however, they can also produce a sort of “blindness” as we ignore that which we’ve predetermined to be useless.
Where cognitive blindness becomes really damaging, is when people have tuned their filters to do nothing more than confirm what they already know and believe. They become blind to new and better information because they don’t want to have to change anything in their thinking or action.
Someone who seems to be “Just not listening” may be experiencing cognitive blindness. The only real way to tell if someone learned something is by observing their actions.
Confirmation bias is our natural orientation to seek out what we already believe. We do this because it takes very little energy and requires virtually no work on our part. If you think about it, confirmation bias is the antithesis of learning, because one is actually making sure nothing changes in their thinking.
If you’ve ever sat through a meeting, class, or seminar, and have come out of it with no new actionable items to implement, you’ve experienced confirmation bias. As long as we’re breathing, there is always something new to learn.
This is a bit of a hybrid. Secondary certainty is what occurs when someone’s belief about something in particular has already been challenged and corrected in the past.
No major damage is done to our egos to modify a belief once, but to realize that we were incorrect a second time is too much to stomach for most.
If you re-read the other four blocks to learning with this concept in mind, you’ll be able to see how our ego’s deep desire to not be wrong twice (Secondary Certainty) will amplify the power of each. For some, these blocks to learning are the tools our fragile egos deploy to stay, well... fragile.
In various courses and papers you’ll often notice that I ask you to take pause and really think something through so that it “sinks in”. I tend to do that when I think that one of the above psychological blocks are likely to be present. I’m going to do that very thing now and ask you to go back and reread this section before you move on.
Our current knowledge dictates our beliefs, interpretations, and reactions to external stimuli and those things dictate our current and future ability to live a good life and lead others to do the same. If we’re unable to sufficiently care for all of our current and future concerns, we’ll need to take on new and more effective knowledge.
Name at least three instances in your life where you’ve had to “Unlearn” something old to “Learn” something new.
- Prior to the “Unlearning” what psychological blocks were standing in your way?
- What was the breakdown, realization, or motivation that allowed you to overcome the block?
Questions: Are designed to be answered both in the comment section to engage and learn from others as well as in the classes I teach.
Comments: My purpose is to deeply study and write about what impacts our ability to live a good life and lead others to do the same. I read every comment but respond by creating more papers based on what I learn from my readers. Please leave your thoughts below.