In a classic study, the audience is asked to watch several people dribbling and
passing a basketball. Their assignment: to count the number of passes each person
makes during a one-minute period. Intense concentration is needed because the
ball moves quickly. At one point, someone dressed in a gorilla suit crosses the
floor, walks through the players, turns and thumps his chest, and leaves. How
many people saw such an obvious phenomenon? Researches Daniel Simons and Christopher
Chabris found that consistently 50 percent of people failed to notice the gorilla.
This selective blindness is our brain at work trying to construct meaningful and consistent narratives from an inconsistent world. Things that dont fit the storyline get unconsciously edited or simply fail to register as relevant.
Einstein said, It is the theory that decides what we observe. What we see is what we believe. This means that we are not just data-determined, but also hypothesis-determined. The brain as computer and as biological evolutionary system determines a made-up story called reality.
Practical Tips for Changing Your Mind
What is the relevance of these findings relative to the process of decision-making or changing mental models?
The clearer we are about what we want, the more power we have. Success results
from being all of who we are and having all of ourselves go in the same direction.
Self-validation and affirmation result from having an internal ideala
sense of good enoughand consistently attaining it. We each
uniquely define our own meaning of success and fulfillment.
Individual success involves a full understanding of what we create to facilitate or to interfere with success. Revising a life story begins with changing our minds as well as behaviors. We author the fundamental plot and storylines and our past, present and future are current constructions. The world occurs to us in the ways that we see and believe it to be. Beliefs drive behavior. Behavior drives performance.
We only perceive the possibilities for which we have a map (a framework or paradigm). Everything else is a gorilla on a basketball courtsuperfluous or not noticed. Our perceptions and experiences are not the complete picture, just as the map we created is not the territory itself. And we sort information into patterns and categories in order to process it.
Fear, adventure, change and possibility are all synonyms, just viewed from a different spot. Possibility may simply be a different way of looking at something, a new way of thinking or openness to feeling what was previously unknown or foreclosed. We each have to see and experience for ourselves the advantage of tolerating change and living into possibilities.
Three Caveats of Possibility Thinking
DAVID KRUEGER, M.D. is CEO of MentorPath, an executive
coaching practice tailored to the needs of executives, entrepreneurs and
healing professionals. Dr. Krueger is author of twelve books on success,
money, work, and mind-body integration.