Beating our bias and tendency to use logic and reason to support our preexisting beliefs

I love Mark Manson’s articles.  Mark Manson and Jeff Brown have (very different) rare wisdoms and writing styles.  Jeff Brown talks about love (self help and sacred sexuality) and Mark Manson in an instigator.  In Mark Mansons’ latest article called Why You Can’t Trust Yourself he discusses 8 reasons.  While I can relate to all 8 of the ideas, number 4 caught my attention and I want to discuss it a bit below.

4. YOU GENERALLY ONLY USE LOGIC AND REASON TO SUPPORT YOUR PREEXISTING BELIEFS

I feel inspired to address this immediately.  I ran over to 130words.com to start writing as honestly as I could.  I prepared myself to be disappointed with facts.  I prepared myself to be honest.  But I honestly couldn’t find a sturdy foundation to start from.

Certainty

As a kid, I had a rock.  I was certain of math and science and as a result I excelled in the system we’ve built around our youth – academia – which in return reinforced my certainty.  But math and science don’t give humans a purpose.  I had to find that by opening up to my subjective experience and I’m still searching for anything as remotely sturdy as my childhood rock of math and science.

Purpose

Some of the other points Mark makes further validate my feeling of instability attempting to source purpose from the experience of self.  It is certain that there is no human purpose in math and science, so I’m better off here in the subjective but I’m still not standing on anything reliable.

Mark’s points:

  1. You are biased and selfish without realizing it
  2. You don’t have a clue about what makes you happy
  3. You are easily manipulated into making bad decisions
  4. You generally only use logic and reason to support your preexisting beliefs
  5. Your emotions support your perceptions way more than you realize
  6. Your memory sucks
  7. “You” aren’t who you think you are
  8. Your physical experience of the world isn’t even that real

This list sets off so many trains of thoughts I’m having a hard time sticking to one point.  Fortunately I don’t need a memory to scroll back up and see why I’m writing this article.  Let’s get back to how our personal brands of logic and reason are generally used to support your preexisting beliefs.

Pigeon Hole Self

We pigeon hole ourselves.  In a way, this helps us maintain a stable identity.  On the other hand, it prevents us from making breakthroughs.  And if there was ever a time for breakthrough in my life, it is now.  Actually, it is often, but why not start now.  Avoid tangential thought trains and get back to breakthrough.

Vulnerability

I’m resurrecting a word from the diluted and fading New Cage self-help movement.  And if you disagree that it’s fading, double check how old you are and go checkout what the new generation cares about.  Notice another tangent.  Great, one step to personal growth, but what the heck to do with it?

Own it.  Openly.

Tangential Trains of Thought

I am inspired into tangential trains of thought that derail me from my initial goal.  Antidote?  Focus and notice.  Notice when I get derailed and come back to the initial goal.  Finish the job before moving on.  Recognize that I’m drastically over emoting about the importance of these inspired thoughts.  They are all just thoughts.  I was married to one a moment ago.  Bring the relationship to completion – a concept I heard several times at an introduction to Landmark Forum.  Or was it World Works… I can’t remember.

Meditation and Noticing

Note, this noticing muscle can be most directly trained in mindfulness meditation.  Someday soon I will begin sharing my experiences with meditation at meditationtimenow.com.

Trust Issues

If I trusted that I would edit this article, which I should because a few more appropriate headings would be helpful for everybody, then I would.  But I would rather complete this goal than leave it hanging.  But this brings up another issue.  I have trust issues… with myself.

What’s my point?

What have I done here?  I’m demonstrating how a rambling writing process can help you expose yourself to yourself.  I’ve openly admitted to us all here that I get (1) derailed by tangential trains of thought and (2) can’t trust myself.  We’ve come to some helpful conclusions including (1) use noticing to bring myself back to my original path (2) train noticing with meditation and (3) this kind of self discovery can be practiced with writing.

Beating Our Bias

This is all an effort to fight back against our use of logic and reason to support preexisting beliefs.  They may be small steps outside of my box but it’s a start.  A daily practice like writing at 130words.com can be beneficial to growing our self awareness, fighting through ruts and making breakthroughs.

What are you happy for?

I didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning.  I was having a hard day before it even started.  But after each successive snooze I found more concerned text messages from my girlfriend.  I finally got up and called her.  She was glad that I was okay but even more excited to share an article she’d found.

I called her on my way to work so she could read it to me.  I asked who wrote the article but she wouldn’t tell me.  She started reading and I loved it from the start.

It was friendly, personable, and gave a fresh perspective on a familiar idea.  It fits the Nut Fed tagline – fresh ideas timeless wisdom.

Daily Writing

I built a website for daily writing but the front page was empty.  I wanted something that would encourage new users to register and use the website.  I needed a summary of the many benefits of writing every day.  I added quotes from around the web but the article my girlfriend found was much better.

Gratitude Journal

One of the reasons I wanted to build 130words.com was to keep a daily gratitude journal.  My sister has been writing a daily gratitude journal for years now and she swears by it.  I’ve wanted to start the habit but could never settle on a place to write.

I finally solved the problem by building my own daily writing website.  Just register, create a custom category like “gratitude journal” and write in it every day.  Try it now!

Happiness Journal

The article was about gratitude journaling but with a twist.  It’s a happiness journal. You don’t need to write about things that “warm your soul or make you feel whole.  Write anything that makes you smile.  That’s enough.”

As my girlfriend finished reading the article she slowed down and read the last example… “I am happy for my brother’s laughter over the phone.”  Then she paused and said… your sister wrote this article.

—  I was flattered and proud all at once.  —

My sister’s been building a blog to support her dream career.  I heard an article for the first time and was genuinely impressed.  The closing warmed my heart and made me feel genuinely valued.

What am I happy for?

I’m happy for my sister.  She is a great source of inspiration.  She writes well, loves well and lives with confidence.  I admire her courage and wish her well as she quits her job to build her dream career.

Read her article Happiness Counts and track her progress at juliahalefitness.com.

What are you happy for?

Write now at 130words.com or leave a comment below.  If it’s about someone you love let them know.  They may not know how much something they do means to you.  They’ll be happy to know they’re appreciated and the love will be returned.  I’ll be sure to laugh next time I’m on the phone with my sister.  😉