Think Again

We like to think that our own beliefs and behavior are based on a rationale examination of the facts available to us.

Conversely, it is common to consider those whose beliefs and behaviors are different from ours irrational.  

The reality is that none of us are rationale.  Our mind is wired in such a way that we make decisions or judgments and then find the facts and figures to rationalize our position. Not the other way around.

And before you think that you may be the exception to the rule, a recent study showed that the more educated a person is the more likely they are to be susceptible to confirmation bias (seeking out information that conforms with our beliefs).

If you don’t believe me, I suggest that you listen to this interview with Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. His work established the field of behavioral economics and in this talk with Krista Tippett discusses much of the psychology and sociology impacting our thinking process.

Consider your own behavior, even in reading this. How quickly do you make a judgment upon reading or hearing something new?  Is it a conscious process or a subconscious one? Are you taking the time to process new information? Are you questioning the source?  Do you examine how it may or may not fit into your existing beliefs?  The answers are likely no. We are inundated with information and our brains are very efficient in processing this into existing buckets and beliefs.

Unless, of course, we force ourselves to pause and think again.

Progress and growth occur, both in our individual lives and in society as a whole, in one of two ways. We are either forced to change or we become open to change. The former is resisted while the latter is welcomed.

During divisive times, it is easy to be more intransigent in our beliefs and retreat into the comfort of our tribes.

But the path to better times begins with being open to new ideas that may be different from our own. In other words,  making a concerted effort to “think again.”

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