Are you aware of the “glasses” of your cognition?
In my previous article, I talked about the second process of improvement and innovation, “Utilizing Meta-consciousness and Observing Phenomena,” and how it is important to have multiple modes of observation when observing phenomena as they are.
In this article, I will talk about the third process of improvement and innovation: filter adjustment for observation.
Be aware of what kind of “glasses” we are wearing.
(3) Filter adjustment for observation
Create a context in which each team member can meta-cognize and adjust their filters (cognitive and judgmental assumptions).
In the first process of improvement and innovation, we intentionally chose the scope of improvement and innovation. The second process was to observe the “reality” in our selected scope as it is. The third process, which needs to be practiced in parallel with the second process, is to adjust the filters of observation.
As I will explain in detail later, the filter of observation is like a pair of glasses. In my previous article, I mentioned that it is very difficult to observe phenomena as they really are, because we are looking at things through some kind of “glasses” while interpreting them.
This is not to say that having “glasses” is a bad thing. If we didn’t have “ glasses “, it would take too much time to judge each event. Even if you see an apple, you will not be able to immediately determine that it is an apple, but will only be able to see a round red light. This would make it difficult to live a normal life.
However, if we are unaware of the fact that we are wearing “glasses,” we may interpret the phenomena to our own advantage, which may lead to words and actions that are contrary to our original purpose and way of being. Many people may have regretted misinterpreting the words and actions of their family members, friends and other loved ones.
Therefore, it is advisable to be self-aware about what kind of glasses we wear, and moreover, to be able to choose and adjust those glasses according to the situation, so that we can make them in line with our original purpose and way of being.
A filter is one’ s own value system.
So far, I have explained filters through the metaphor of glasses, but I would like to explain what a filter is in more detail.
In Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), proposed by American psychotherapist Albert Ellis, there is a framework called the ABC Framework. According to this framework, when we feel an emotion (Consequence) in response to an Activating Event, there is not a direct connection between the event and the emotion, but rather a belief/value system (Belief) is placed in between to connect the event and the emotion.
For example, let’s say you receive feedback from your boss on your work output(A). If you have the sense of value that receiving feedback is a good thing because it improves the quality of your work and helps you grow(B1), you will be able to regard the feedback positively(C1).
On the other hand, in the same situation, if you have the value that receiving feedback is a bad thing because it means that your work is inappropriate(B2), you may NOT be able to regard the feedback in a positive way(C2).
Even if the events and situations are the same, the resulting emotions and mental images will be different depending on the differences in beliefs and values. These beliefs and values (beliefs) are the “glasses” or filters in the previous discussion.
How is the filter formed?
So, how are these filters (beliefs) formed? Knowing this formation process will give us a hint to become more aware of our filters and to be able to self-adjust.
There are two types of filter formation processes. One is a process cultivated through past experiences as an individual survival strategy, and the other is a process cultivated through subjective truths and wishes.
The process of cultivating through past experiences as a survival strategy for the individual is the process of forming values to reduce unpleasant feelings and increase pleasant feelings in response to repeated events in past experiences.
Every human being (and probably animals too) wants to have fewer unpleasant feelings and more pleasant feelings. Since people and animals have pleasant feelings toward things that are necessary for survival and unpleasant feelings toward things that are negative or risky for survival, it is a natural survival strategy for individuals to minimize unpleasant feelings and maximize pleasant feelings.
In order to achieve this, it can be regarded as a process of self-adjustment to reduce unpleasant feelings and increase pleasant feelings (C )by forming an optimal sense of values (B) in response to repeated events (A).
One of the most common unpleasant feelings for people is the deterioration of their relationships with those around them. This is obvious when we consider the importance of relationships with family in childhood and with friends in adolescence. Therefore, there are many values that are cultivated from past experiences that have been formed to maintain good relationships with the people around us.
It is a value system that has been formed consciously and unconsciously from childhood until now, in order to be able to receive the support that we need and to be able to form the relationships that we need with our family, friends and other people around us.
The other process of filter formation is one that is nurtured by subjective truths and wishes. Although the process of cultivating through past experiences as a survival strategy can be seen as a kind of wish, the subjective truth or wish here is the desire for self-actualization, which is a higher level of desire than the desire for survival.
In layman’s terms, it can be said to be the process of forming one’s own values in order to get closer to what one wants to be. For example, if we watch top-notch professional baseball players (e.g., Ichiro and Otani) being interviewed, we may notice that they have a clear sense of their own values. I believe that these values have been cultivated in the process of their pursuit of greatness.
Knowing that there are these two formative processes, we can see that in order to adjust our filters, we need to become more aware of the values we have developed through our experiences, reflect on our wishes, and then choose how to adjust those values
In the next article, we will talk about how we can adjust the filter.
Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)
・If you have recently become more aware of your values, when did you become aware of them and what values?
・What past experiences have led you to hold these values? or what kind of wishes are connected to these values?