Our minds are amazing but we still have limitations. We push ourselves, our bodies, our time, our family, our money, our cars – we push them all in various ways to the very edge of what can be handled. We are constantly chasing the ability to squeeze out just a little more efficiency, a little more anything. But our minds and bodies force us to stop, to abide by our limitations because if we don’t sleep, don’t take care of ourselves, don’t maintain not only physical health but also mental health, we break down.
The mind has a natural ‘shut off’ button, if you will. Without it, we would overflow with incoming information. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), for example, is the mind’s way of shutting down memories that are too horrific to be maintained in daily thought. Unfortunately, these memories, though repressed, still surface unexpectedly and cause many issues for those that suffer from this disorder. But we often assume only extreme stress can affect the mind….and when we do, we are wrong.
When overloaded, the mind will focus on the clearest, easiest, most familiar information. I like to say – we focus on what we know, who we know, where we know. But what happens when this is not the information to which we need to be attending? What happens when we miss the important points? What happens when we are so overloaded by the chaos around us that we focus only on ourselves?
Take this test. Watch the video and test your ability to see the world that’s presented to you…
Did you see it? Or was your mind overwhelmed? Now imagine this idea in your everyday life…
In a country where information and data are surrounding its people all the time, everywhere, we would predict that the citizens would, out of necessity, focus almost entirely and exclusively on their closest surroundings, on people most familiar to them, and on information that is easiest to understand. Further, they would be expected to reject, possibly vehemently, anything that is different looking, from an unfamiliar location, or that is confusing or too complex. With the size, number of people, and diversity of thoughts, background, experiences, and beliefs of our nation, complexity is guaranteed. And as a result, our minds will crave, and possibly even force us, to focus on our closest surroundings and people that look, act, and think like us.
The right question then is: How do we empower our people to focus on the right information for growth instead of the most familiar information to maintain a feeling of safety?
To be continued….