Science tells us that if we ask our brain a question, it will continue to process until it finds a solution. This also means that, when we are presented or exposed to things without having all the corresponding information at hand, our brain will start to fill in the gaps, creating our own stories based on past experience, anticipated results or the lens with which we view the world.
The danger in allowing this to happen is that often these stories are just that, stories, that have no basis in truth. The great news is that just like our fight or flight instincts, we can train ourselves to take the pause we need to re-evaluate and gather more fact based information before reacting, but it does take practice.
For instance, if I were to hold a pair of sunglasses in my hand and asked a group of people what they can tell me about them, I may receive the following responses:
The list could go on and on. What would you have said? The truth is that ALL anyone else really knows is that I have a pair of sunglasses in my hand. Interesting isn’t it that we feel compelled to make up our own stories and draw our own conclusions.
Now I want you to think back over your interactions at work or at home. Can you identify when you “wrote the story” instead of asking for more information? Can you think of how you reacted in the moment to only find out your reaction was later unfounded? Or can you picture how different the outcome may have been had you asked more questions?
I’m sure we have all made this mistake and probably have wasted both time and energy unfoundedly. So how do we change our behaviour, through practice! We need to learn to pause and ask ourselves these 5 critical questions:
As you move forward through your day, I challenge you to practice PAUSING and use the above questions to guide you.