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Monday, May 18, 2020

Factory-Installed Vs. After-Market

As Act Three of my life steadily unfolds, it's become clear to me that my factory-installed optimism could have easily stalled several times without the timely installation of a few critical after-market features.

Being newly exposed as an Education undergraduate to the self-fulfilling prophecy, more commonly called the Pygmalion effect, was arguably the first after-market feature to fortify my optimism. I still recall being persuaded by the studies that showed how putting aside preconceived ideas about the innate intelligence of students and treating them as fully capable could make me a more effective educator. That one after-market installation sustained my optimism through most of my young adult life.

Through middle age, though I continued acting on the belief that people are able to rise to our highest expectations of them, a little cynicism - disguised sometimes as pragmatism and other times as not wanting to be too vulnerable - began interfering with my factory-installed equipment. And I often found this to be most troublesome interacting with people who triggered me. Just in time, thanks to my Graduate program, an even more useful after-market feature helped reinvigorate me.

Discovering confirmation bias - the human tendency to filter out data that doesn't support our views - re-energized the faltering optimist, assisting me to become marginally more tolerant aka less cynical.  I quickly realized my creeping cynicism was itself a by-product of my own confirmation bias. Return to the self-fulfilling prophecy Pat, said the voice in my head. Continue seeing the good in people and anticipate they will rise to your highest expectations. Maybe then your own confirmation bias can be mitigated. 

Which component of your factory-installed personality has been most enhanced by after-market installations?

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