When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.

~ Ernest Hemingway ~

Thinking Blinkers

September 15th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 45 secs

How much does our thinking approach matter?

Most of the interpersonal problems limiting our happiness come from thinking blinkers. What are thinking blinkers? They’re the self-limiting thought processes people use to make sense of what’s happening.

So, if somebody interprets a neutral comment as a threat or, distrusts acts of true kindness, their thinking blinkers are blocking their way.

To varying degrees, we are all wearing thinking blinkers and end up suffering the side effects. Do you look at yourself in the mirror and feel less than okay? Limited thinking is blocking you from seeing all the good in you. Dislike people because of their looks or cultural differences? If so, it’s hard to see them doing anything good because their behaviors are being filtered through our “you can’t trust them” belief system.

Clearly, wearing thinking blinkers has serious consequences. Hatred, distrust, racism, ageism, and hostility to positive possibilities are just some of the side effects.

So what can we do? How do we overcome thinking blinkers and find better ways to process situations? I believe it’s vital that we start looking at situations with no other agenda than just concentrating on what we can observe.  Firstly, seeing what is occurring rather than interpreting behaviors is pivotal. To put all our energies into noticing and none into forming opinions may seem strange. But it’s immensely effective as a means to uncover fresh information. Without careful observation, opinion is  about as useful as a box of used tissues. We simply must focus first and continue doing it to get better at it.

Then, and only then, can we carefully consider interpreting what we actually observe. Thinking blinkers are highly resistant. So creating new pathways to forming opinions is difficult to achieve unless we persist. Sadly, most people don’t because they won’t.

But for the few who do, escaping the bondage of thinking blinkers to consider things freely is totally liberating. How does it feel to think without the pressure that you ought to judge in a particular way? In a word, it feels wonderful! Yet, I suspect most people rarely experience that luxury. For them, thinking is about “closing the gap” to prove what they already suspect. There is little room to observe and wonder at the situation of anything.

So, if you want to find more happiness, consider the drag of kept agendas and concentrate on observing rather than concluding. It may be strange at first, but getting rid of our thinking blinkers is a brilliant way of making a good life great.



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