Listening for Confirmation
Pleasing the Ego
It's a little counter intuitive but the biggest obstacle I face in my learning process is thinking I have heard it all before. In fact the confirmation bias is one of the cognitive biases that serves to only confirm what I already know. Operating with a confirmation bias my brain will twist and bend things in accordance with how I perceive the world around me; it will filter out anything that could potentially conflict with what I already know. You might be beginning to see why this can be detrimental to learning something new. In a confirmation bias frame of mind inconvenient truths don't stand a chance even though inconvenient truths are a cornerstone of human evolution.
A Misunderstanding of Intellect
I used to think that knowing 'everything' was a sign of intelligence and to balance this out the great minds would demonstrate humility, nobody likes an egotistical person even if they do know quite a lot. However, I have begun to see the truth that information and knowledge are limitless. What can be limited however is our capacity to let new information and knowledge enter our awareness. When my thinking has me tightly sealed inside my own little box it can often appear like everything around me is static. It may seem like everything has been discovered until the next new breakthrough comes along and then everything really has been discovered.
Flood the Ego
The ego is largely what is stopping us from perceiving a bigger vision of our worlds. The ego will gladly trade a quick spike in dopamine for the pleasure of feeling right based on an idea that may have been constructed with horseshit. The good news is that the ego isn't an evil guard keeping us captive. The ego is simply my thinking about myself created by myself. In any given moment, when I decide that I have had enough of my ego playing small, I can choose to stop over analyzing and allow a space for thought to flow and new thoughts and ideas to emerge. Just becoming more aware of this means I can take myself that little bit less seriously, I can see that I am not the one running the show, and who knows I might be able to breathe in more oxygen on a daily basis.
Does your ego love to play small? Would you like to have a clearer head? If you have any insights, questions or recommendations feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.