October 13th, 2012



Correspondent Andrea Canning: "Are you bi-polar?"
Charlie Sheen: "I'm bi-winning."

Having read (and understood) the Paul David Walker (CEO Coach) statement, "Your thoughts, beliefs, ideas and other cognitive forms are only an approximation of reality. Not reality itself. We have experiences that cause insight into reality, and then we form cognitive frameworks to describe and categorize those experiences. There is no way that a description of an experience can duplicate the full reality." made me realize how fortunate I was to have the ability to not only recognize my shortcomings, but also trace them back (at least in proximation) to their roots and perhaps even more dazzling, be able to temporarily compensate for them when discussion arises. This is also why I greatly enjoy any new shortcomings of mine being pointed out, for if not an answer, it might at least be another clue! Paul David Walker goes on to say, "The key to wisdom is to know the difference between your wild hopes and fears and common sense, intuition or true wisdom. They often seem the same, but they are not. There is a distinct difference in the feeling. One comes from your thinking about your own thoughts, and the other comes from a direct experience of reality. Great leaders know when they are lost in their conditioned thoughts and when their thoughts come from insight into reality. Knowing `the difference` takes practice." Do you practice? If they feel similar and it requires practice to know the difference and you don't practice...how do you ever justify anything you do or think?

I came across a conversation recently between two adults concerning unintentional offense. The one who was offended admitted to having some emotional triggers, and while he didn't want to foster an environment where anyone was "walking on eggshells" he thought that other people should avoid his own personal triggers as he endeavored to avoid theirs. The problem with not taking personal responsibility for one's own shortcomings however, is what creates the eggshell scenario. It is no one else's job to be responsible for YOUR triggers. The very idea stems from entitlement, and entitlement stems from something far darker - our old friend cognitive distortion.

The relationship between personal responsibility and cognitive distortion didn't come to me right away, only after a very specific event occurred; one in which the party who was vying against personal responsibility made the comment to a third party that he'd "won" by getting an apology from the "offending" party. It wasn't at all about maturity; rather winning, losing, and blame. Those who embrace personal responsibility never place blame on anyone else - they understand the complexity of causality. I'm sincerely beginning to believe that anyone who plays the blame game is cognitively distorted. Those who see life in such all-or-nothing extremes end up hurting everyone, including themselves, in order to "win" as suggested by R. K. Jain, Harry C. Triandis in their book, Management of Research and Development Organizations: Managing the Unmanageable, pg. 162:

Research shows that the win-lose orientation is associated with cognitive distortion, that make the outcome of the conflict undesirable for both sides. The "product" that is an outcome of this conflict (e.g., a negotiated agreement) is likely to be poor. In such cases the position of the in-group is perceived as very much more desirable than the position of the out-group. While the in-group knows its position well, it does not know or fully understand the position of the out-group. The position of the in-group appears to be much more desirable than it is. The "common ground" between the two positions is seen as belonging to the in-group's solution, and the in-group perceives only its own postilion as acceptable, using a "narrow cognitive field" to understand the positions of the various parties. In other words, in the win-lose orientation, the group look at the conflict in a distorted, overly simple way.

Expectation determines one's perception of any given result - and we know on which path expectation lays, the path of cognitive distortion. There is simply no getting around it. But the win-lose scenario is also one perception of the basis of compromise, giving up something for something else you want more. Brad Spangler (Beyond Interactability) says, "Critics of the compromise approach to conflict solution believe that people should not have to make concessions as much as they do when they engage in negotiation. Proponents of integrative or interest-based bargaining argue that if people are open about their real wants and needs, then a win-win solution can often be found that provides what both sides want without compromise."

Real wants and needs. Remembering of course that "being honest with yourself is is not so easy. There's a little think called self-deception that gets in the way."* ARE WE ALL STRIVING FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT HERE OR JUST TRYING TO SKATE BY?

As usual, this rabbit hole has netted me knowledge - something I was previously unaware of. According to Psychology Today these black & white thinkers DO feel more than we do. I'd heard it said but I didn't believe it; couldn't (at the time) find any validation on the subject. But they do feel much more than we do. "Their emotions are more intense. Brain studies show that the `emotional` centers of the brain actually overpower the `logical` centers. On a scale of 1 to 10...they're at six or over and cannot then be reasoned with." This abnormal, uncontrollable phenomenon leads to Emotional Dysregulation - which is akin to thinking that even an iota of emotional management equals suppression. What's the solution? I have no idea. But every time they think they've "won" then we have all lost.

Question everything generally thought to be obvious.
~Dieter Rams