Every decision starts with a belief.
That is, we base our decisions on what we know to be true—what we believe. Sometimes, however, we believe something that isn’t true.
Both intellectual and emotional, beliefs influence our behavior when facts and reason alone do not.
Our early relationships, experiences, events, and situations create and influence our belief systems.
However, when we fail to examine our beliefs and bring them to the conscious level, we run the risk that we will continue to base decisions on false or inaccurate inputs.
Unconscious Beliefs Cause Personal Bias
High-stakes decisions demand that we close the gap between what we say and what we actually do. This is the intersection of what we believe and how we behave. Then we can begin to understand how our unconscious beliefs create biases that shape our world view.
When we actively examine our attitudes, biases, beliefs, and values, we take the requisite steps that build confidence that we can take a risk.
Any discussion of conscious and unconscious biases should start with his “tip of the iceberg” theory. This theory explains how an iceberg resembles the human mind.
The smaller part of the iceberg that shows above the surface of the water represents the region of consciousness. While the much larger mass below the water level represents the region of unconsciousness.
This vast domain contains the urges, passions, repressed ideas, and feelings that exercise control over the conscious thoughts and actions of people. Thus suggesting that limiting the analysis to the consciousness is wholly inadequate for understanding human behavior.
When we actively examine our attitudes, biases, beliefs, and values, we take the requisite steps that build confidence that we can take a risk. Click To Tweet
Internal Battle Between Consciousnesses
Conflicts occur between the conscious and unconscious.
People, therefore, continuously and inevitably find themselves in the grips of a clash between at least two opposing forces, making daily living a compromise.
These conflicts arise as the systems of the mind compete for the limited amount of psychic energy available, an energy that has its starting point in the instinctual needs of the individual.
Philosopher Bertrand Russell claimed that believing is the most mental thing we do.
Happiness expert Daniel Gilbert claimed it’s also the most social thing we do. Gilbert contended that just as we pass along our genes in an effort to create people whose faces resemble ours, so too do we pass along our beliefs in an effort to create people whose minds think like ours.
As he pointed out, every time we interact with another, we attempt to change the way that person’s brain operates.
Speakers, therefore, try to bring their listeners’ beliefs about the world into harmony with theirs. Sometimes they succeed.
False beliefs, therefore, can become super-replicators, but accurate beliefs—ones that stand up to tests of logic—give us power. Which makes it easy to understand why we readily transmit and develop them.
The first step to understanding why we believe what we do is to raise our awareness of how we came to believe as we do.
The first step to understanding why we believe what we do is to raise our awareness of how we came to believe as we do. Click To Tweet
Mental and Emotional Short-Cuts
We may understand intellectually that we make better decisions when the chasm between what we say and how we behave narrows, but that doesn’t always guarantee success.
Too often our unconscious beliefs conspire against us.
They create biases that shape our world view and our mindset.
When we actively examine our mental and emotional short-cuts, we take the requisite steps that build confidence that we can take a risk and truly disrupt the-way-we’ve-always-done-things-around-here strategies.
Avoid Deconstructing Success
When people wrongly believe that nothing is improving, they may conclude that nothing they have tried so far works and lose confidence in things that actually do work. Too often clients want to tell me everything they have done that didn’t work and fail to mention all the efforts that moved the needle, even just a little.
Deconstructing success, therefore, can play a more powerful role in organizational improvement than accident investigations can ever hope to.
Both start with a simple question: What led me to make that decision?