David Krueger MD
What we believe is what we’ll see. This means that we are not just data determined, but also hypothesis determined. The brain as computer and as biological evolutionary system determines a story constructed to be called reality.
What is the practical value in this? About decision-making? About how to change some mental models? Some lessons from neuroscience, psychology, and strategic coaching:
1. For any situation, look at the data, but also at the hypothesis—the default assumption that appears as “given.”
2. Since we shape and filter the world by our hypotheses, they need to be continuously tested.
3. Examine the hypotheses that work and the ones that don’t work.
4. Challenge your thinking and assumptions.
Interact with diverse people and keep an open “beginner’s mind” rather than a quick foreclosure to a new idea. Life as a series of experiments keeps a system open to the new. Premature closure occurs by too-rapid judgment, as well as moving a new idea into an already existing model to lose the context of a new model. This style of dismissal occurs frequently among very bright people with significant life experiences who immediately relate something new to something that they already know, absorbing it into an old context or meaning without sufficient examination.
5. We become comfortable and dependent on our old habits; uncertainty and discomfort result when we move away from existing internal models.
6. Use data to test a hypothesis rather than to automatically confirm it.
7. Distinguish between transforming your thinking and being caught up in a new fad.
Focus on the foreground without losing sight of the background’s big picture. Repeat zooming in and out to keep perspective. Both microscopic and macroscopic views offer benefits.
8. The best way to excise something from your life is not to ignore it. The best way to avoid something is to be informed by it.
By avoiding something, you engage it, and keep it central in your life. To ignore takes energy, and moves you from a centered, healthy place. Decide what you want to keep, what you want to avoid, and what you want to let go.
9. You are always free to change your mind.