How much of your interpretation is inaccurate?

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Brian Kight

We don't just experience events. We evaluate them.

Anything you observe, you assess. You interpret intent, predict consequences, and assign meaning. But other people don't interpret, predict, and assign the same as you. People assign different meanings to the same event because they have varying interpretations.

When a baby cries on an airplane, other passengers feel all sorts of ways. The man in 18C feels annoyed. The man in 19D feels empathetic. The woman in 17B feels memories from 20 years ago of traveling with her small children. All because of how each person interprets it and the meaning they assign to it.

That's a theoretical example of a situation you've probably experienced. What about relevant and significant practical examples?

Consider how people interpret intent, predict consequences, and assign meaning to:

  • COVID
  • U.S. presidential elections
  • Trustworthiness of media outlets
  • NIL in college athletics
  • How to raise children
  • Team or company behavior standards

People don't respond to events. Neither do you. You respond to how you feel about the meaning you assign to them.

Unfortunately, people don't like to question the accuracy of their interpretations. They like it even less when other people challenge them. Test it out yourself. Challenge someone's interpretation of an event and observe how they react. Do they respond with curiosity and consideration or react with defensiveness and justification?

It's crucial that you understand the role of interpreting events and assigning meaning. It's the engine that drives why you respond the way you do. What you observe, how you interpret, and the meaning you assign determines the responses you consider. This self-awareness will help you avoid flawed decisions and make stronger ones.

It takes work to scrutinize these mental and emotional connections. Most never make a serious attempt. They interpret any serious evaluation as a threat to their beliefs and identity. Ironic, right?

Tomorrow, I'll show you the next step in this sequence and how much of your life it's already affecting. In particular, why you are almost certainly resisting actions you know would help you.

Brick by brick. Do the work.

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