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July 11, 2022

Don't Believe Everything You Think

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I’m sure you’ve been told “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet or see on tv”. It’s good advice because what is being presented to do you is biased, opinionated, altered, and positioned to achieve a certain outcome. 

What if I told you that your brain was the same way? 

In many ways the thoughts you have are no different. They are shaped, crafted, and ideated in ways that you aren’t even aware of to meet needs you didn’t know you had. For that reason, I’m going to add that you shouldn’t believe everything you think.

Your brain is filled with cognitive biases - Negativity bias where you’re hardwired to find and care about negative things around you. Confirmation bias where you overvalue the information that lines up with what you already think... A great example of this is endowment bias. In a research study, a group of people were split into two groups. One group was given a coffee mug and asked how much they’d sell it for, and the other group was not given a mug but asked how much they’d pay for the same coffee mug. The group that perceived it as theirs, who were given the mug, said they’d sell it for over $5 on average and the group that was buying it valued the same mug at $2.5 on average. The only difference is the mind’s environment in determining the value of the mug. That is bias.

Just because you think something doesn’t mean it’s true or that you mean it. What’s happening is your subconscious mind, with its biases, is informing your conscious mind about the context of the decisions it’s making. Your conscious mind is not aware of the context, it is simply responding to the emotional environment created by your subconscious mind. But with the right awareness, you can override all of this and make more intentional decisions - You are in control of your conscious thought.

The natural question becomes, 'If I can’t trust my thoughts, what can I trust?' You can trust your process. The way you’re curious about the thoughts you have to explore what might be motivating and influencing them. You can trust your own evaluation to determine what’s real and what is manipulated, what serves you and what doesn’t, so that you can choose to reshape your thoughts in a way that is in alignment with the life you want to live.

To implement this today in your life, let me ask you this - What are the checks and balances you use to manage the thoughts you have? Believe it or not, your thoughts are your choices.

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