How would you fare if your thought bubbles were visible to others?
While you may be eternally grateful they are not, I hope, however, you are aware of your own spontaneous thoughts. After all, those are a reflection of your unconscious biases. And the first step to overcoming unconscious bias is to be aware of what those biases are in the first place.
Overcoming is not the right word—we will always have bias.
It’s the safety lens through which we view the world—“friend” or “foe” is our gut response to everything. (Unless you are a dog, then it’s “food” or “not food.”) The problem arises when we believe our unconscious thoughts unquestionably and make decisions or take action without pausing to reflect on alternative interpretations.
Listen like you are speaking different languages
What if you listened to others as though they were speaking a different language from yours? At the rate that people are polarized and not listening to one another, it’s not that far of a stretch. And there are so many good lessons for thought reframing. Such as…
I have no idea what that person is saying.
Whoa! This is different than what I am used to. Let me stop and listen better.
What a $%^(# idiot.
Well, that was unnecessarily mean. I don’t know if this person is really an idiot from this one encounter. Let me try to understand what they are saying from their perspective.
OMG. Just shoot me now.
Remember that most (okay, many) people do not pluck their ideas from…nowhere. Let me look at the context of what this person is saying. Or at least stop and ask a clarifying question.
Thankfully, at least for the time being, no one else can read your bubble thoughts.
But you, you should pay close attention to them. Even, or especially when, they freak you out. That’s the underpinnings of your unconscious biases, aka the blocks to opening yourself to seeing things from another’s perspective.
Embrace your natural thought bubbles.
Explore them, and use them as a door or window to deeper connections and unexpected opportunities.