Holiday Blessings

A holiday gift to you from all of us here at The Human Effectiveness Institute and songwriter Stan Satlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooF8CDQIpDE

Outsmart Hasty Closure

Created December 22nd, 2020

Built into each human being before birth is an information-processing program whose apparent purpose is to help us understand our external and internal experiences.

It works as follows: certain experiences or perceptions trigger a feeling of dissonance in the mind; you pay closer attention to and think about these until you have a feeling of having absorbed their information, at which point the feeling of dissonance goes away and we say that you have achieved closure.

 Hasty closure can be defined as those instances in which it would have been useful to you to think further before closure. In the Observer state or Flow state peak experience states of consciousness – we are “above” or “behind” the autonomic mind (Ego) and Hasty Closure does not occur.

“Acceleritis”  — the condition caused by having too many things to pay attention to all at the same time, and pretty much all the time — makes us impatient if we are in “normal waking consciousness” – the autonomic mind (Ego aka The Robot). When we do not fully understand something, the drive for closure becomes palpable within our minds. We may become frustrated and maybe even apoplectic, especially if additional variables continue to be introduced — a ringing telephone, someone comes in with a request or sends us a text or e-mail, etc. If we are living in a state of continual impatience, our minds will do anything to get to closure as quickly as possible. If we run our lives and our minds in the usual impatient way, we will lack insight into this process, and so we will be eager to grab our mind’s first offering of a way to closure.

To help you distinguish which of these states you are in at any given moment, here below are some of the signs of hasty closure. When you spot these signs happening within yourself, you are jumping into the Observer state!:

  • One of the most obvious effects of Acceleritis is the increased tendency to see things in black/white terms rather than in shades of gray. “She is always out to get me.” “That guy is never right.”
  • Positions based on beliefs rather than on personal empirical experience. “A company should always be sharply focused on just one thing.” “Religion is just superstition.” “The White Race is supreme.” These beliefs likely came from other people who were influential in your life, including your parents.
  • Negative Charge. The presence of negative emotion such as tension, fear, anger or irritation. These feelings are evidence that you are seeing a situation a certain way, and on top of that, you have subconsciously already decided on a strategy for dealing with it. With such a negative premise, this is not likely to work.

Often these closures will trace back to experiences you had many years ago that you interpreted in a way that locks you into a certain inflexibility, and which trick you into believing you have learned something empirically from your own personal bad experience. But you’ve been fooled by the takeaway you received from that experience; the real lesson is somewhat subtler than the lesson you articulated to yourself long ago.

Typically, you may have overcompensation bias. You were too open, you thought you learned a big lesson, but now you are too guarded — “falling off the opposite side of the log”. You may have been too generous and now you’re too stingy, too severe and now too gentle, too trusting and now not trusting anything or anyone. And so on. You learned the wrong lesson — it wasn’t black or white, it was finding the right spot between them for each situation.

A powerful strategy for jumping into the Observer state is to doubt your own last thought/feeling. Before going off half-cocked, look back at what you just thought or felt, and demand proof before you choose what action to take. This ensures that all of you, your whole self, is in charge, not taken over by a part of you.

You may have an investment in accepting some thoughts over others, such as thoughts that make you look smart to yourself. Just knowing that you can be biased goes a long way to seeing past any bias you may have lurking in your head.

Don’t take anything to extremes. This post is not meant to turn you into Hamlet, never able to make a decision. You must in fact become more decisive, simply not hasty: think things through thoroughly and then take action. If you sense something is dragging on too long and you have needed to take action for some time, you really need to get away by yourself for however long it takes (within reason) to plan out what to do decisively.

Enjoy the peak experiences of the holiday season,

Bill

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