Saturday, 31 October 2020

What was better today than yesterday?

Yet, another benefit of maintaining well-structured knowledge is that the opposite states of mind--uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity--can be very unsettling. According to the meaning maintenance model, even brief exposure to stimuli that seem out of place or inconsistent with expectations can put people on the alert to make sense of their environment or to affirm other moral convictions (Heine et al. Proulx & Heine, 2008, 2009; Proulx & Inzlicht, 2012). In one study, after simply viewing nonsensical word pairs such as turn-frogs and careful-sweaters (compared with sensible word associations), participants were more eager to reaffirm a sense of meaning by acting in line with their moral beliefs (Randles et al. When unexpected events occur, people have an automatic tendency to restore a sense of meaning, even in unrelated areas of life. Why, deep down, are inconsistent states of mind threatening? From the existential perspective, maintaining clear, simple interpretations of reality provides people with a psychological buffer against the threatening awareness of their mortality (Landau, Johns, et al. What do you think would happen? Would your friend feel loved and respected? Would he or she enjoy hanging out with you? Your self-talk is the way you talk to yourself in your mind. It is the voice in your head telling you how stupid you are when you make a mistake. It's the internal voice telling you you can't do something, or you will never amount to anything. As you learn to change the way you talk to yourself and to become more self-compassionate, your life will become easier, and you will stop sabotaging everything you do. The first step to changing your self-talk is to become aware of it. The more you notice that little voice in your head, the better you'll be able to replace negative self-talk with empowering self-talk, which will help you move toward your goals and feel better about yourself. One myth about self-criticism is that unless you're hard on yourself, you won't get anything done. Although Rich had an enormous fear of public speaking, he was more concerned with helping other families avoid the tragedy that his family had faced. His larger vision allowed him to put his fear aside.

Take Action! Create Your Larger Vision To create a larger vision for your life, you need to identify how you would most want to improve the quality of life for others. If you could give the people of the world a gift, what would you give them? If you could heal the world of some malady, what would you heal? If you could contribute to others in your community what would that contribution be? What do you want for others? When considering the following questions, take your time and be specific. If the world appears fragmented, chaotic, or vague, people may have difficulty sustaining faith that there is anything bigger than themselves--anything that they can rely on to give their life meaning and significance--and so they are left with the possibility that they will simply die and be forgotten. Conversely, the sense that the world is ordered--that people act in consistent ways, for example, and that people generally get what they deserve--buttresses people's faith that they can establish some meaning and personal value that will be remembered after they die. In studies supporting this idea, participants reminded of their mortality were more likely to show primacy effects in impression formation, and they showed particularly strong dislike of someone who acted inconsistently from one situation to the next. Thoughts of mortality not only increase the tendency to think of members of other groups in simplified, stereotypic ways but also increase preference for outgroup members who confirm rather than call into question such stereotypes (Schimel et al. The Need to Validate What We Already Believe Let's turn to the need to validate our prior beliefs. In many cases, people want more than mere certainty: They want to reach conclusions that support their preferred views of the social world. The motive to validate beliefs can lead people to assume that the use of so-called enhanced interrogation practices will yield higher-quality intelligence if they support these practices compared to those who reject them on moral grounds (Ames & Lee, 2015). This motive doesn't just bias perceptions of other people and events; When presented with complicated statistical information, many people fail to engage sound reasoning to accurately assess risk. This is the carrot and the stick approach. There is a problem though.

It doesn't work well. Sure, it can help you to accomplish more, but it will be less efficient than being kind to yourself and offering yourself encouragement. Think of what great coaches do. They encourage their students to believe in themselves. They don't insult their students but inspire them to be the best they can be. Sure, they could yell instead, and this method might even work for a time. However, as a student, would you rather feel inspired, knowing that people will support you no matter what, or would you prefer to be driven by fear? The same mechanism is at play with your self-talk. Use your journal to explore and record your answers. What do I want for people? What do they need in order to have this? How will I support them in fulfilling this need? As you consider this last question, keep your four essential values in mind. How might you use one or more of your essential values to serve your vision? When you align your values with your method of contribution you create a powerful force for good. Once you've worked through the answers to the above questions, put your vision statement into one succinct sentence that feels direct and powerful. Write your larger vision here: What I want for people is However, if the information is relevant to their own health, they become more accurate at analyzing the same kinds of statistical problems, especially if the answer gives them better odds of good health (Mata et al. People filter, manipulate, and analyze information to maintain their preferred beliefs and attitudes.

APPLICATION Seeing the Play Let's consider one more example of motivated social cognition: how people interpret an athletic event when they attach their feelings of self-worth to the success of one of the teams. If you've ever watched a game with another person and you were each rooting for a different team, you probably noticed that you have very different perceptions of what is happening in the game. With a close play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth, do you think Red Sox and Yankees fans see the attempted tag of the runner in the same way? Consistent with your likely intuition, a study of fans' impressions of a particularly rough football game between Princeton University and Dartmouth College in 1951 indicates that they would not. Following the game, Albert Hastorf and Hadley Cantril (1954) showed students from both schools a film of it and then asked them how many penalties each team had committed. Princeton students saw Dartmouth players committing many more penalties than Princeton players, whereas Dartmouth students saw their team commit only half the number of penalties that the Princeton students attributed to them. But of course, students from both schools watched the same film! I encourage you to see yourself as your own great coach. The better coach you become, the better results you will obtain. Among other things, a great coach: Encourages their students, and Asks empowering and thoughtful questions. I recommend you do the same to yourself. Becoming aware of your negative self-talk So, how do you talk to yourself and how often to you resort to criticism? Do you tell yourself how stupid you are when you make a mistake, or do you shrug it off and laugh at it, knowing you'll do a better job next time? Do you tell yourself you can't do something and give up, or do you say to yourself I can do that. Your vision may shift a bit over time. Don't be afraid to go back and refine it as needed.

Then, create a powerful and personally meaningful visual reminder of this statement. You might create a large colorful sign or a message on your computer's screensaver. As simple as this may seem, this vision will help create miracles in your life and in the lives of others. When you make a decision to invest in your inner development, you engage a Divine power to support your efforts. This same force will open doors for you as you set out to serve the vision you've created for your life. Once you're clear about what you want for others, and you begin taking the actions to make it happen, it's as if you've stepped into a flowing river that gently takes you where you're meant to go. My friend Andrew knows exactly what this is like. Listen to his story. Our motivations--in this example, our investment in our sports team--affect the way in which we perceive events unfolding. We look for what we want to find and come up with justifications to our conclusions (See--look at that! The receiver was mugged before the ball got there! When people watch competitive sports, their interpretation of controversial plays and penalties is often biased by which team they want to win. Since this classic study, researchers around the globe have shown in myriad studies the many ways in which people's cognitions are biased by their motivation to maintain preferred beliefs and attitudes. Of course, there are limits to the influence of motives on people's thinking. For people to function effectively in the world, their cognitions must be generally accurate representations of external and social reality. If a young man's company is losing more money than it is bringing in, he cannot sustain a belief that his new business is successful for very long. Instead, a person's understanding of reality is the product of a compromise among three motivations: desire to be accurate, to be certain, and to hold on to valued beliefs (Heine et al. Kunda, 1990). How you talk to yourself will, for a large part, determine the results you obtain in life. Therefore, you must become aware of all the ways you make yourself smaller than you really are, and then, you must replace them with more empowering methods.

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