When Seeing What You Want To See: Bear In Mind to...
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As I sat here meditating on a morning like this, I read a book about leadership and emotional intelligence in the context of the workplace. It has become such an everyday habit for me to read a number of books simultaneously, taking a little time here and there during the day to progress through each of one them.
In this light, I revisited the leadership and company politics book that fascinated me the last time. My previous sitting had been devoted to chapter two and I found myself attempting to recall all that came before chapter three. The title of chapter three surprisingly included the word revenge, which seemed to have caught my eye and drawn me in. For some reason, however, the word revenge all of a sudden magically transformed into the word “leverage”.
Being completely bewildered by what had transpired, I murmured to myself: "What on earth is wrong with my mind?". Upon further reflection, I just couldn’t make sense of why revenge was first in my mind rather than leverage. Was it an optical illusion? Anyhow, although I didn't know for sure, I began to panic as I recalled some of the articles and books I have read in the past about subconscious states. Here I was trying to learn new things about leadership and how to navigate the merciless waters of the world of work and all I seemingly want is *revenge* and settling old scores.
The truth is, I’m not really sure what overcame me, but one thing was certain to me at that moment: revenge isn’t a good topic to explore if you’re looking to achieve anything positive in life! But was it really that simple? Maybe I read into it too much because I felt so overwhelmed by my inability to fully comprehend the human brain. Perhaps my neurons and synaptic cords made that connection because these two words have five letters in common, and in a moment below full attention span, my brain made that autocorrect error.
As my overthinking self subsided from its constricting grip on reality, I grasped that there's probably nothing wrong with me. Then a profound conclusion emerged from the mental fog. What if our brains constantly make this erroneous autocorrection? We are, after all, wired to spot patterns around us as a species and use our experience to help us navigate through life's complexities. My point is, what if this mirage effect happens more often than we would like to believe? What if as a consequence, and under its impact, we reach incorrect conclusions, make fatal decisions, and miscalculate, thereby harming our personal and professional lives?
It would be more effective if we acknowledged our shortcomings as humans rather than panicking or living in denial. Yet modern society and its social media noise wants us to believe these wacky ideas about vibes, signals, and always trusting "intuition". Though we are taught to critically reflect on papers and theories at school, sprinkling our essays with advantages and disadvantages, we hardly ever get encouraged to question ourselves. Could all this self-actualization hype and healing discourse just be laziness disguised as individuality? What if there’s no problem with the vibes we get from people but a problem with our antennas who’re receiving them? Could you ever truly be emancipated and self-aware of your inner feelings and thoughts without examining them in depth?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these things to be the ultimate grandmaster of gaslighting. I’m not here to pull a malicious trick myself as revenge for the trick that my brain pulled on me (pun intended). I’m merely stating that to live an authentic life we must learn and practice to question ourselves. We must learn to spot the patterns that so often seem like they’re imposed on us. Instead of just talking about freedom, we ought to learn how to free ourselves from the copilot mode that enables our brains to robotically direct us based on the past.
Ask yourself, why are you getting the “vibes'' that you’re getting? Why do you perceive a certain situation the way you do? Could you see it differently? I wholeheartedly believe that being able to step-back and question the self without judgment is an invaluable skill that can prevent failure both in relationships and professionally. For there’s an interdependence between self-awareness skills and success.