Biases & glasses

You might have watched the TED talk I posted on my Facebook page the other day, the one where Isaac Lidsky argues that we ourselves shape our reality based on what we choose to believe in different circumstances. This idea goes hand in hand with a quote from Helen Ararom: “It is our imagination that transforms itself into reality”.

I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s peddle back a bit.

Last week I was talking about stories, the ideas and arguments we sell people, and how our intentions (to replace with ‘agendas’) and biases determine the way we tell the stories we engage in.

But agendas and biases are two different things, even though at times they may lead to the same outcome. While agendas can be built  (mostly) intentionally / consciously (remember Churchill’s quote, “history is written by the victors.”), biases are formed unconsciously, based on circumstances, culture, (both limiting and empowering) beliefs, education, influences from other people, wishful thinking, etc.

I can easily say agendas and biases are inter-connected as a matter of fact, because a biased view of history, economy, politics etc can lead to a certain agenda and also, if you have an agenda, your biases will definitely enable you to see the route to fulfil it (“if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”).

Politics, economics and history aside, let’s narrow this down and apply it to our own selves. This means that we have our own agendas and biases, of which we are more or less aware of. Think of biases and any unconscious agendas as a pair of glasses that we keep on at all times and therefore they shape the way we experience the world and build our reality; Lidsky said it best:

“What you see is a complex meta construction of your own making, but you experience it passively, as a direct representation of the world around you. You create your own reality, and you believe it.” – Isaac Lidsky

Would you like some proof?

  • Think of the times when your partner didn’t call or text and you thought it’s because they must be with another person / they don’t love you.
  • Do you invest a group of people with negative attributes as a result of the media propagating a denigrating message about that group?
  • If some of your beliefs that you thought were 100% true 5 years ago are no longer true, how can you be sure that some of the beliefs you hold at the moment do actually stand no matter what?

What can you do about your biases?

Your conscious mind feeds you biases and limiting beliefs all of the time: “You can’t do this”; “That person is ill intentioned because they are x nationality”; “This is too dangerous to do / too big a risk”.

The only thing you can do is to silence that voice that limits your options and makes you a smaller person than it thinks you are, and ask yourself questions that challenge the present worldview. When you are constantly probing the reality you think you live in, when you question your worldview, you expand, you allow for other possibilities, you encourage other ideas, options and beliefs that might even contradict the initial suppositions. And when this happens, your biases are challenged, annulled, replaced.

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