Posted in inspirational, Psyche


Letting go of what’s familiar is pretty difficult to do. It means something has to open in your head and in your heart, but that shift never comes easy. Even change for the better is still change, but it’s often initially dreaded and avoided, and it’s always uncomfortable, at least in the beginning. We are creatures of habit, so the immense human reluctance to change is always the most difficult. Letting go fights more than the powerful magnet of the current situation. It also comes into conflict with compelling or distorted thoughts that make holding on appear reasonable and right. Every thought pattern is a shrewd argument against letting go; each needs to be directly challenged and re-scripted before your heart and mind truly open to a completely new state. At its deepest level, the possibility of letting go forces us up against our three strongest emotional drivers: love, fear, and rage. Human beings are emotional creatures and our emotions drive our behavior.

By understanding an individual’s primary emotional drivers, we know their ultimate motivations. When you ask someone if they want more money, while they may say yes, it’s typically not the money they want but what they believe the money can buy, whether it be security, significance, or achievement. The leading drivers determine how a person acts or reacts in a particular situation with another individual, to a significant extent. Actions and reactions to your surroundings vary with different primary drivers; every individual has specific ways to satisfy their own.

Letting go means confronting these invisible emotional barriers, bringing them into your awareness and then struggling against them. It means challenging irrational, unproductive thinking until you get your head on straight; facing up to your fear and then calling on your courage and your character to face it down, and it also means confronting your passionate attachment to the past and reducing it from a boulder to a pebble.

The greatest positive action steps to take are to anchor yourself in the future, discard, repair, transform your narrative, forgive, and learn to be present in the here and now.

It’s hard to let go of the past, especially in the absence of a positive view of tomorrow. You need a vision of the future. An investment in, a distraction through, or an excitement about something ahead will help to push you beyond the past, but creating it requires careful mental focus.

Pushing actively beyond the past starts with discarding. Emotionally discard when you are suffering and try to make amends; this generally involves reaching out to someone, face to face or in writing, and expressing your remorse. It’s a manner in which to put past history tightly behind you.

One single, powerful strategy for easing the pain of the past is to rewrite key aspects of your story from a more balanced, empathetic perspective. A healthy rewrite makes you feel less victimized, less devastated, and much less lost. It reduces the deep rage, loss, and fear that have been holding you back. Simply put, we are our own story and we are the only ones who can rewrite it. Rewrites do not attempt to change the facts of the narrative. They simply see those facts through more mature, more empathetic, and less injured eyes; those eyes then help you let go.

The transformed narrative is a step along the rockiest of paths towards forgiveness. It’s a lot to give up for the sake of mercy and you must come to believe that there is more to be gained by forgiving than by staying angry. Forgiveness is a decision, not an admission of defeat. There is nothing more powerful than the ability to be present; a technique better known as mindfulness. It’s an acquired skill and there are several positive, emotional, and spiritual side effects. As your ability at mindfulness increases, you will, by definition, get past the past!

Posted in inspirational, Psyche

Halo vs. Horns Effect

If you haven’t seen the show Brain Games; I highly suggest you watch it. I’ve learned so many fascinating things from this show, but one of the most intriguing is the halo vs. horn effect. The halo effect is the positive first impression which comes of a person, brand, or any entity because of certain historic past traits. The horns effect is just the opposite phenomena. It’s when one’s perception for another gets swayed by negative traits. Both of these effects are attributable to cognitive bias, a mistake in cognitive processes like reasoning and memory. When you have a cognitive bias, you hold onto your beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. Once you form an overall impression, you may work very hard to manipulate new evidence to fit your impression, whether it fits or not. It’s a “mental shortcut” or “illusion of the brain” and because our entire lives are encompassed by these judgements, they affect the very structure of our society today.

When forming a first impression, the halo effect can take hold in various forms; observing an initial attractive feature such as beauty or strength can make the person appealing, making it difficult to revise that impression based on new or opposing information. An attractive individual may also be perceived as interesting, ambitious, or funny.

The term was established by psychologist Edwin Thorndike in 1920. Thorndike asked commanding officers to rate soldiers on physical characteristics such as physique, and personality traits such as intellect, loyalty, and leadership. He discovered unexpectedly strong correlations between superior physical characteristics and superior personality traits.

Whenever individuals present themselves for interviews when seeking job opportunities, it is usually those who are impeccably dressed and can express themselves more clearly, that tend to be considered or given the job. The Pursuit of Happiness movie is a prime example of that. Another example is when a consumer’s love for a certain product may prompt them to choose the item with the same brand name when faced with two options, even when the knock-off version is far less expensive than the known brand. When an initial perception creates a negative aura around a person or product, the halo effect may then be referred to as the “horns effect” or the “reverse halo effect.” For example, if you hear your new boss criticizing an innocent employee on your first day at a new job, you may form an overall negative impression of him or her. Even if he or she later apologizes to the employee or has other redeeming qualities, you may still continue to believe that the individual is a poor boss.

It’s truly agreeable that social perception plays a vital role in individuals’ everyday lives. I believe that the factors that contribute most to an individual’s perception of another are based off of how a person is dressed and how they express themselves. Meaning, people tend to think highly of others who are well-groomed, as well as those who are able to communicate more clearly. This perception also gives credibility to the fact that a person can affect how others perceive them. Like I mentioned in my last blog, tattoos in the workplace are one of the biggest misperceptions people have, especially when proving the halo vs. horns effect.

Image result for halo vs horn effect episode

In conclusion, we’ve all experienced the halo effect, where we judge another person either correctly or incorrectly based on a single attribute. But being more self-aware of this can help you break such a subjective lifestyle. Not only will you make more informed, fair-minded decisions, but you’ll be a better person for it too. I honestly believe this is something we must all work on!