“Each of us views life through a one-of-a-kind lens and makes a one-of-a-kind inner map of the world around us.” – Patricia Lynne Duffy
Patricia Lynne Duffy is a UN language instructor and co-founder of the American Synesthesia Association. For her, words appear as colours, and for other synesthetes, music can be seen in colour as well as being heard, or sounds can be heard in response to certain smells or tastes. It’s fair to say that for most of us, the idea of seeing or hearing sounds in colour is quite a stretch, but it serves to demonstrate that as individuals, we each have a different “lens” through which we view the world around us. As Patricia puts it, “I am fascinated by the fact that each time any of us looks at the world each sees it in a way never been seen before; filtered through our one-of-a-kind neural patterns, as unique as our fingerprints.”
Katherine Ramsland is a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. She believes that we each have a CPS (Cognitive Positioning System) that can be likened to a GPS in that both systems are concerned with where we are in the world. However, where a GPS can give you a physical location on a world map, a CPS can only frame how you see the world around you, affecting your perspective, interpretations, and ultimately the decisions you make.
Your CPS operates in your subconscious. The repeated messages and “learnings” of life such as stereotypes, gender roles, and rules of thumb create a mental map of beliefs, opinions, and needs that you subconsciously use to interpret situations and navigate through life. The human brain likes clarity, it doesn’t like ambiguity, and for this reason, we tend to believe the first thing that makes sense to us rather than sift through all other possibilities. Of course, what we believe to be right is based on our perception of what’s right, but we each view the world from a unique perspective, so who’s right?
“A cognitive positioning system develops from experience and education, both of which are filtered through the brain’s defaults. Some of these defaults are just part of being human, while others are part of being you.” – Katherine Ramsland
Some of the information we take in from the world around us is consciously filtered (rational thinking) but some is subconsciously filtered, making it intuitive thinking. Intuitive responses to situations are automatic, and they’re highly influenced by emotion, meaning there’s huge potential for flawed thinking and skewed personal bias. We make automatic judgements based on our CPS – but our CPS is limited by our own mental map. For this reason, the learnings and influences we use to create our CPS have a huge impact on the way we view the world around us.
To change your world, change your thinking… Your inner world (subconscious) is constantly interacting with your outer world, so if you want to see and experience the world differently, the process begins by learning how to open your mind to new perspectives and a different way of thinking. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There are no facts, only interpretations.”
Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach, Mentor and Key Note Speaker.
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