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by David N Johnson

April 8, 2022

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Life is all about perspective. It’s about how YOU perceive the events around you based on the filters you see life through.

Each of us sees the world around us through the lense of our own experiences. Through our own prejudices and biases. We falsely belive that what we see is true for others because it’s true for us.

This is holding us back. It separates us from one another and creates division. It’s time that we start checking our gut reactions and asking ourselves 3 very important questions.

  • How does this make me feel?
  • Why do I feel that way?
  • How do I know that I’m right?

In a study done on cognitive reflection by behavioral economist Shane Frederick, he asked questions such as:

A bat and a ball costs $1.10, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

What say you? If this is the first time you’ve ever seen this question then your first instinct is to say $.10, but you’d be wrong. The answer is $.05.

Of course, this question is written in such a way that you almost immediately jump to the wrong conclusion. Why? Because you went with your gut. You didn’t check your answer with logic. This happens way more that you realize but if you can learn to slow things down, you open yourself up to better dialogue and a lot less heartache.

Going back to those three questions I mentioned earlier. Whenever you’re presented with anything that makes you feel strongly ask yourself, how does this make me feel?

Your emotions aren’t wrong, but it’s important to understand what you’re feeling and if your response is going to be an emotional or a logical one. As humans, we tend to see what confirms what we already belive to be true. With confirmation bias we focus only on the information that supports our point of view and ignore everything that doesn’t.

So use your strong emotional reaction as an indicator that you should ask yourself the question, how does this make me feel?

Then, why do I feel this way?

You don’t have to react instantaneously. In fact, you shouldn’t. Like the answer to the cognitive response question above, most people get it wrong because they had an emotional reaction to a question that was better answered using logic and if they slowed down long enough to use it, then they wouldn’t have gotten it wrong.

So explore the why behind the way you feel. Understanding your own emotions and the reasons behind why you feel the way you do will help you to see things in a differrnt light. And who knows, it just may open you up to new ideas, thoughts, and experiences.

Which brings me to the third question, how do I know I’m right?

This has been an important one for me. It’s opened me up to seeing things from a different perspective. Many times our goal is  more to argue our own rightness than it is to invite in a different way of thinking.

That’s not to say that you have to take on anothers opinion as your own but it at least opens you up to listening with intent instead of preconceived biases.

That’s how we make a better world, or at least the start if it. By being open to the idea that you may not have it right. That you may not have all the answers and that the way you’re feeling at that moment could be preventing you from hearing something other than your own thoughts and ideas.

Anyway. How do I know I’m right?

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David N Johnson

About the author 

David N Johnson

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