I am someone whose go-to line is- ‘I know!’
(Not that I’m making a Monica reference here)
Even when my rational side has charted out graphs based on statistics and logic, I usually end up taking a decision based on the gut feeling (or, what I assume to be a gut feeling- the signs of clarity, I guess)
One of the disadvantages of thinking that you’re one bit too sure about something is the stubbornness of refusing to look elsewhere or reconsider your decision.
(I could only assume that this is mainly an Aquarian trait. But, then again- We are responsible for our actions, and not our sun signs)
Let’s say you’re someone who likes yoga and has been practising it for quite sometime now. (You’ve developed your chi) A friend asks you to join them for a trial boxing session.
If it doesn’t seem aggressive, or intimidating to you, you’ll perhaps do one of the two things:
- Agree to try it out, for the heck of it. (Could be fun, right?)
- Dismiss the idea altogether (without a second thought)
This depends on whether you like boxing or not.
If you’re one of those people who does a thing due to FOMO, this post is irrelevant to you. (Clearly, you have bigger problems to deal with)
If you haven’t tried boxing all your life, then how could you possibly know whether you like it or not?
It’s merely your perception of boxing that is leading you towards this decision. There is a myriad of things that come into the picture when one needs to excel in boxing. Agility, strength, determination, quickness, accuracy, power, Grit and Guts. If you suck at those, it’s quite obvious that you’d come to hate boxing.
Sure, there’re people who may be good at it, (perhaps on day-one & two. Beginners luck, perhaps) but post the happy-period, its grit, and sweat.
If you played poker at a house party and won every single round, what are the odds that you’d dislike poker the next day?
You would love it because you appeared to be good at it. (Incidental)
But if we consider the same situation in reverse: where you lost miserably at poker. It would clearly make you hate it; until you win again. (A Gambler’s feedback loop)
It’s the gamble of Life, the gamble of choices
Earlier today, I watched psychologist Petter Johansson TED talk on “choice blindness” — a phenomenon where we convince ourselves something is what we want, even when it is not.
(Ironically, perhaps you’d convince yourself that you don’t want to watch this video, whilst watching him prove it to you that- you don’t know what you want.)
Watch it anyway.
The things you think you know, you don’t.
The only thing you can ever be sure of, is that you can’t be sure of anything.
Such a cliche, isn’t it?
Donal Rumsfeld brought up the concept of known knowns, as a response during a defense new briefing
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know
But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
Everything in life is an art of balance- Good and bad; Life and death; Happiness and Sorrow; Love and loss.
When the scales are tipped, chaos sets in. But the chaos always, always returns to its origination, if you just let it.
Say, a war goes on for 4 years. But, for the next 50 years, there’s peace.
You may ask: Even in that calm period, there are bound to be a few internal conflicts. How then, can it be a peaceful period?
Implore then, during the 4 years of war- was there never a moment of peace?
How is that fair?
It’s not fair. But its also not all unfair, is it? One doesn’t exist without the other.
An incident in itself may seem good or bad. But take the complete picture, (regardless of the time frame) it would make sense.
You cannot ignore the existence of one, due to the presence of another.
Trust, but verify:
Prior to accepting something, maintaining a hint of skepticism to question the same, helps you keep an open mind.
Any idea, or theory which you may have already believed, or come across (including this article for that matter) if dissected for the right reasons, is progress.
Imagine, that you read 10 self-help books a year, and accept the anthem it sings with blind faith. (If the reviews say it’s eye-opening, then your eyes must open. Right?)
What good will that do?
I can assure you that the pointers of each book will wage a civil war in your brain, when they contradict each other. (And contradict they will)
When I read a self-help/non-fictional book, (regardless of its popularity and shining reviews) the first time, I try to keep an open mind and accept it wholeheartedly, even if it makes my skin boil.
The second time around, I read it with skepticism. Not just questioning the theory it implies, but also to verify if I agree with it.
If yes, why? If I don’t, then why not?
The reason being: I would know why I believe in something. Questioning it, is equivalent to watering the soil, in order to loosen it up.
How else will you plant ideas in a rigid mind?
So, the next time someone calls out your BS, (and it will happen, my friend. Regardless of how mature/refined you consider yourself to be) instead of trying to build up your defenses and figure out a way to sneak back into comfortable-righteous territory, you will implore the accuracy of the statement and your necessity to alter the mindset.
It is safe to assume that we never know the entirety of a situation, a person, a theory, a problem, or anything.
Let’s start there since it adds a certain volatility to your routine. This may seem unnerving at first: walking with uncertainty.
No one said life was easy. But simple? Perhaps, (if you learn to look at it the right way) but never easy.
Blind faith uproots you in the end anyway. Might as well carry that uncertainty in your hands like the fragile baby bird it is, and wade through life.
[There’s a myriad of avenues I haven’t yet explored, when it comes to ‘Choice Blindness’. More to come, in the future pieces]
Until next time,
The Hippie Soul