All of us have biases, attitudes and values that help form opinions. This is not always a bad thing. The premise of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink: Power of Thinking without Thinking” – is that internal gut reaction that those who are considered experts in a particular field possess. But other biases can clog the way we perceive life that can be detrimental to our success and relationships.
One bias I fight- I believe a lot of people have thanks to Hollywood – is the dumb blond bias. I catch myself in business settings either assuming the blond woman is an administrative assistant or just ignorant. If I was unaware of this bias, I’d find ‘confirmational behavior’ to maintain the bias. Every mistake or slip up would re-affirm the bias. But because of an awareness of my bias and understanding where it came from (Thank you Chrissy Snow from Three’s Company) – I don’t allow myself to hear what I want to hear to maintain the bias.
I can’t possibly be the only person in American who’s been tired of all the political campaigning going on this year. Even worse is watching both sides fight it out on social media. People are debating their side to the point of alienating Facebook friends – lots of unfriending and blocking going on. When I see people bunkered in with their opinions, deaf to the other side it makes me wonder how they listen in other areas of their life.
How do you hear?
- Victim hearing – everything you see or hear is filtered through a traumatic experience. I have had a couple of friends return from a tour in Iraq that needed time to adjust to civilian life. This is why counseling is so important. Whether it is a childhood trauma or the trauma of losing a job, working through it with a counselor will help you from forming wrong biases and hearing with victim’s ears.
- Insecure hearing – when you don’t know your worth and value, nor your strengths and weaknesses. If you constantly need approval, you will hear condemnation in every conversation. We all have had insecure friends that suck the life out of you. No matter how reassuring you are, they will find a reason why you will leave or don’t like them. Their own fears come to pass with their insecurity. We all have areas of insecurity, we just need to be aware of them. Advertisers prey on people’s insecurities.
- Black & White hearing – this is right or wrong hearing. There’s no third option in your thinking or hearing. Turn on the news and watch all the Political Analyst debate what they think the issues are. Or sit in Church watch people debate doctrine.
We should all strive for balanced hearing – aware of our weakness and biases, but still have self confidence. We want to be open to different ideas and thoughts and think critically about what is presented to us. In part 2, I will go over how to overcoming these negative hearing filters and how to challenge biases.