How we think is influenced by many things – our habits and our subconscious ways of perception. We have read that we are influenced by several things in our consciousness, like values, belief systems, desires, training, etc., but how we end up thinking is a fine process, in which each aspect of our mind is acting in a way which we can call filters.
Let’s take an example: we go to the mall and see a red handbag we like. This can be termed a trigger, a stimulus picked up by us through our eyes. Now, this information goes to our brain, and there it goes through the following filtration processes:
Filtration process 1
This process begins from our deepest unconscious desires, which we are not aware of. These desires could be anything – one of them could be to look attractive, confident or glamorous. So the handbag’s colour and size may attract us because we unconsciously feel a sort of synergy with how the bag looks. At the same time, other women may see the bag but may pass it by since according to their mindset the colour red is not their type.
Filtration process 2
After the thought passes through the first filter, it may get modified – either increasing or decreasing in attraction. The next set of filters is values and belief systems. Our values and belief systems are the largest set of filters that dictate the direction and formation of thought, and while the first set of filters have intensity and strength, the second set of filters may not have the high intensity but have a very structured form, and these filters define the rules we set for ourselves.
The values and belief systems could be: I need to look well turned out, so I deserve the bag; or conversely, I don’t need to waste money buying the bag as I should conserve my money. This is the level at which family or spouse pressure may be felt or not experienced at all. So if we have a belief system that what my friends say is how I should behave, then my peers can influence me at this point.
When the thought leaves filtration process 2, it has become structured in terms of going towards a decision, which may result in action or inaction.
Filtration process 3
This is the mind filter we employ to understand the situation and measure it on our set of unique experiences and training. These are the personal experiences we’ve had and the inferences or outcomes we have created as a set of our understanding of the world. These experiences and their impact on our thinking begins young, so if financial prudence is what we were trained in, we may not buy the bag immediately. Conversely, if our habits make us an impulsive person, we may go with our habits.
The fourth filter
This filter is very gentle but extremely persistent – it is the inner voice. This is the voice that kicks in when important decisions have to be made, otherwise it stays silent.
The feature of this inner voice is that it is a powerful one that is non-judgmental. It never dies out; one can hear it very clearly when one is not thinking consciously (i.e. the problem solving thinking mode is silent at that time). The thought is accompanied by a sense of calm and immense courage.
Since the inner voice is a very gentle voice, the only way to identify it is the accompanying immense sense of courage and calm confidence.
We have the power to change our lives and shape it in the way we want. However this power is dependent upon knowing oneself and being aware of the way one has been thinking.
Enterprising people see opportunity all the time, blamers see only lost opportunity. Optimists see the best possibilities at every point, pessimists see only problems. The list is endless… it depends on how we see the world.
From HT Brunch, March 25
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