The reason behind why we see everything in black and white
Hello my friends!
I have been receiving SO many emails and social media private messages from so many of you! Wow. Super happy about this.
I love receiving questions about this blog because it helps me to clarify, simplify and give even better examples of everything that I teach here.
Also, it helps me to create new blog posts about things that really resonates with my readers, which in return helps them to untangle specific problems that they're currently dealing with.
So I'll encourage you to - yes, YOU - to send me any questions about anything that you feel currently difficult to deal with.
I will respond to every single one of them.
Think about difficult work relationships, habits that you can't seem cut out from your life or painful thought patterns that may be keeping you up at night.
I'm assuming you have at least one complex scenario going on in your life right now.
How do I know that?
Because you are human, you have a human brain and you live and deal with other humans who have human brains.
The human brain is the source for most of our problems.
It's also the solution to most human problems, including yours.
Now, if you have a problem and also consider yourself intelligent, smart, highly educated and experienced in work and life - and YET cannot seem to be able to solve this one thing that's troubling you - I will tell you why.
You cannot see yourself because you are inside of yourself.
It's actually easier for you to see things in others that they can't see in themselves.
This is the reason why it's difficult to try to untangle yourself from a knot if you are inside the knot.
And this is why I'm here to help you.
Do it, shoot me an email with a complicated question - you'll never know, that might be the best decision you've done for a very long time.
Talking about questions...
This blog post was inspired by a question that I was asked recently. It's a bloody good one, that.
"Why can't we see the world as it is? Why can't we just see facts and feel neutral - all of the time"?
And this is why.
If we'd be able to see the world as it is - for real - our head would probably explode.
No, but in all seriousness, you wouldn't be able to function.
Some researchers say that we are exposed to approximately 2 million bits of information per second at any given time.
Others say it's 11 million bits. Regardless who is right or wrong, that's A LOT of bits of information!
And this is the reason why we cannot digest it all:
Our nervous systems can only process about 134 bits per second out of that 2-11 million bits of information per second.
In simple terms: your brain processing has a limit.
Let's compare the brain with your stomach.
Imagine that you're hungry and need to eat.
You could probably eat one meal and feel satiated.
Now think about yourself after Christmas dinner. That bloated state, pfff urgh. Being so full you can hardly get up from your seat.
Now imagine eating everything there is in the supermarket - in one go.
That's right, you couldn't. You couldn't function at all. Your stomach couldn't take it.
Your stomach has a limit of what it can process in one go.
Your brain works in the same way: it also has a limit.
This is why our brain has to filter all information it receives to a digestible size.
So when being presented with stimuli, through our ears, nose, tongue, skin, eyes etc. brains register a lot of information. Then it digests is and comes up with meanings:
"Smells like spaghetti bolognese",
"Sounds like church bells",
"Tastes like vanilla"
...and so on.
Braun receives stimuli, registers it and turns it into a meaning.
It receives so much information. You may be reading this blog post but NOT think about how the bottom of your feet feel against the shoes you may be wearing.
The brain makes sense of what's coming in from all of those channels. It also retrieves memories and associates the information with those memories.
It's funny, I have no memories of eating sand but for some reason, I know how sand tastes like. I have most likely put sand in my mouth as a toddler and still remember how it tastes like.
And hear me out, this is the part that causes so much of our human problems:
After receiving information through eyes and ears and then registering it, for example "A man in front of me is speaking words" the brain will run all this registered stuff through another set of filtering system.
It turns into this information into meaning. For example "That guy is being rude".
Now, this set of filtering system is unique to all of us.
These unique filters have been shaped by the "rules" taught to us by our family, our society, the education system, our culture, our peers, our personal history, our work, our religion, the part of the world where we live in, our gender, race, age - everything.
All the information will be filtered by these set of rules: what is acceptable, what is expected, whats good, what is bad and so on.
How does it do it?
The information will flow through these 3 filters.
It deletes information:
Instead of seeing the world as it is the mind only focuses on what it thinks is important.
This means that it leaves out everything else, sending opportunities and counter-evidence into a complete darkness.
This set of filters creates conclusions in your mind like
"I'm a failure".
"Nobody appreciates me".
"Life has nothing to offer for me".
"I have no skills in anything".
It distorts information:
Instead of seeing facts this set of filter creates conclusions that aren't congruent, don't add up, are based in mind-reading, are lacking a reference to the author and automatically assuming that one thing causes another.
This means that there is no dispute.
It creates distorted conclusions that sounds like simply "stating facts":
"She never cooks for me, therefore, she doesn't love me".
"He doesn't compliment me, therefore, I'm ugly".
"Family members should always support each other in everything".
"Everyone should vote for Social Democrats".
It generalises information:
This is a common one and is used so much in common language that it almost seems innocent. But look out for these ones because when unconsciously being cultivated on a daily basis they may start creating difficult emotion in you.
This set of filters comes up with words that may feel very real but aren't necessarily true: I can’t, I'm unable, It's not possible, anyone, ever, never....
Stating beliefs as facts, when they actually aren't facts:
"Nothing will ever work".
"This always happens to me".
"Things will always be like this".
"Everyone thinks like that".
"No one will ever love me".
After the registered information has ran through your unique filtering system, what's left is not always pretty.
Many believe that what they think is true. Their filtering system is what keeps them from achieving big thing their life. When I start working with an anxious, stressed client our first job together is to start understanding their unique filtering system and learn to separate your thoughts from facts.
"Man speaks words" -> fact. Neutral. Doesn't cause emotion.
"That guy is being rude" -> thought. Filtered information. Meaning making. Can cause negative emotion.
The thing about filters is that you can't live without them but you are able to adjust them.
Remember the external world and your mind are always two separate things. What causes so much trouble in people's lives is that they believe that their mind and the world are the same things.
Now here's the newsflash for you if you've been consuming your time by reading many different self-help books or desperately tried many different diets - but nothing seems to work:
No person has a same filtering system in place.
Everyone's is unique, based on their background, personal history and experience. And this is why the same diets, self-help books or courses don't help everyone.
Unlike machines humans are very complex, this is why one-size-fits-all approaches don't work.
So please, if you've tried "everything" and "nothing" has "ever" worked (see the generalisation there) it doesn't mean that you are "incurable", "special case", "stupid", "failure" or "incapable".
- It just means that You are a human.
With a unique setting of filtering system running your life.
All humans are so different, complicated, complex and weird in their own beautiful way. No one is the same. That's why I love this complex human business.
Because of our unique filtering system, it's not A LOT what gets inside our mind from all the information that's available to us.
We are literally blind to the world because of it.
So to narrow that little bit of info whats left after all the filtering action simply turns itself into ONE of these conclusions:
And this is the reason why we us human beings always tend to think in black or white.
But to feel better, have a better life and experience more of the goodness in the world you must take control of your filters. Everything starts from there.
- the reason why we can't always see the world as it is is because our brain has to filter information to a digestible size (so instead of eating a whole supermarket you are able to eat just one meal)
- all the received and registered information goes through a filtering system created by the rules learned at home, education system, society, culture, religion etc.
- the three filters that cause most human troubles are Deletion, Distortion and Generalisation - they have nothing to do with reality so watch out for those!
See you in my next blog!
If there are areas in your life that you feel really difficult to deal with and don't know how to help yourself to alter your emotions and handle difficult situations better I invite you to apply for a free consultation here.
I'll be more than happy to help you to tackle any difficult thought patterns that may be keeping you stuck in a negative cycle and help you to move forward.
FOR DAILY MOTIVATION AND TIPS IN MIND MANAGEMENT FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM.
Do your bit. Help someone. Send this article to someone who really needs it.