Thursday 18 March 2010

So You Think You're Awake?

One of the central themes in coaching people is to improve their perceptions of the world. We think we're awake, we think we have good eyesight and good hearing, and we're pretty smart, and we've been around a while, and - well - not much gets past us - we know how things are.

The trouble with that is it's baloney. It's compelling baloney, but no less italian sausage for that.

Our experiences generate beliefs, and beliefs predispose us to bend how we see things in order to support our beliefs. That bending includes over-generalisation, dichotomaic (black and white) thinking, awfulization, ommission (we ignore the good to support the view that everything's bad) and more. Add to that a whole raft of mechanisms which the brain uses to manage its limited resources, like attention - and you'll develop a healthy mistrust of your perceptions. There's a lot more about that here.

Skeptics (which are unfortunate victims of their own distorted beliefs) don't believe this. So here's something which I think will astound you.  It looks like a card trick, but this is not about the card trick - so please see it through to the end.

Do you still think you're fully awake all of the time and seing things as they really are?

When we accept the reality of our own fallibility, we are open to learn and to grow.

My thanks to Paul Sloane for bringing this viudeo to my attention.

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