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Anticipating or predicting can be helpful, but if you recognize when it is not, you can stop it. Instead of taking a forward step, floating to a side step can keep your true goals closer.

We associate and link across our senses constantly. The power of integrating is useful to make a picture of a situation, concept, or even a small point. When we are reading, and the letters are fuzzy, our brains try to match the patterns to what the word may be. And it is the same for any input. We pattern-match, and “clear” matches are usually quickly made. Sometimes this is done by predicting what the next word or group of words will be.

But when we are pre-nudged to be ready for a particular type of input, we may mis-match initially. If we see a fuzzy image of a ball but are hearing about apples, we may first “think” it is an apple. But it is pre-thinking… it is our mind pre-processing and deciding what it is, before we are conscious of the image.… or as we are conscious of it.

Once we “take a position”, though, it can be harder to shed it.

And so we do this in other ways, with our thoughts.

We pre-process when we shouldn’t. Someone is late today, for example. And, since they were late another time when they decided to squeeze in some more shopping, our first idea now is to think it’s their fault. We feel and then decide that they somehow were acting against us, against our interests.

But it could be that they were busy saving someone’s life like a superhero, or at least someone’s need, or whatever reason which would cause you to feel okay about their lateness. Our quick-to-judge response towards them is not useful, and in fact is incorrect. And so then the thought comes… was it ever correct? Of course not.

And trying to back down, internally, we hit the wall of consistency, our identity, and the perception that admitting we are wrong may be seen socially as a weakness. Even if no one even knew you were upset.

A simple hack? “Float” or temporarily side-step the idea before you internally “decide” on it. Then there will be nothing to backtrack on. Plus, create an identity which doesn’t allow the pattern you’re avoiding at the moment. For example, instead of thinking “they are late because of …”, think “they may be late because of …, and of course I am not the type of person to judge too fast.”