I want to explain to you how the phenomenon of confirmation bias is keeping you seeing the world as you think it is, as opposed to how it really is.
Listen to people mumble.
For the next 5 people you talk to, pay attention to how poorly they articulate. Listen for how they mumble. Pay close attention to their diction, how they slur their words, how it’s not always easy to hear everything they say.
That’s it – that’s the exercise. Do this with the next 5 people you talk to. (Don’t do it for radio announcers or TV voices – they’re professionals.)
Here’s what will come out of this exercise: You’re going to hear people make slips of the tongue. You’re going to hear them say “umm” and “ah” and stumble over their words. You’ll hear it because you’re being hyper-sensitive to any bumbling they do while speaking.
Why didn’t you notice this before? Because you weren’t listening for it. Now that you’re listening for it, that’s exactly what you’ll hear.
Do you see where I’m going with this? If you weren’t listening for the mumbles, you probably wouldn’t even hear them. You simply wouldn’t pay much attention to them.
When you’re listening for the mumbles, you will hear the mumbles.
What does this have to do with spiritual-religious teachings?
- If you think somebody is a jerk, guess what? You’re going to find all kinds of proof that that they’re a jerk. You’re going to hear them be a jerk.
- If you consider yourself to be ill-tempered, snide, funny, or lovable, you’ll find evidence confirming that, indeed, you embrace those qualities.
- If you believe life is unfair and everybody’s out to get you, you’ll continually experience things that reinforce this exact belief. You’ll meet the exact people who will be “out to get you.”
What might happen if you changed your expectations?
I’m not saying you should assume everyone is the most wonderful person in the world. But what if you made a conscious intention to look for the good in people?
Why not look at people and assume the best? Chances are, they’ll surprise you. Give it a try and see what happens.
This week’s spiritual-religious advice:
Have good expectations of people and let them rise to that.