Mistaking feelings for truth

Distorted picture of a building, with undistorted flag

Another form of distorted thinking (or “mis-blink“) that we can easily fall into during times of change is mistaking our feelings for truth.

This happens when we feel something so strongly that we think it must be true, regardless of the evidence.

We human beings are emotional creatures. Emotions are what make us more than just machines. Without emotions there would be no joy, no love, no sports, no arts, no movies, comedy, music, friends, lovers, life-partners, or children. Emotions are what make our lives worth living.

So the problem is not the feelings in themselves but the way that we might interpret those feelings.

When we mistake our feelings for truth we set up a circular train of thought which says, “Because I am feeling this so strongly it must be true, which makes me feel it even more strongly, which makes it even more true!!!”

This amplifies the effects of the other seven mis-blinks.

But beliefs that are not supported by facts are dangerous. They lead us either into over-confidence or self-doubt. We think, “Because I am feeling so good (or bad) about this I must be bound to succeed (or fail), which means there is nothing I need to do (or can do) to change the outcome.”

Either way, we then fail to take the actions which we could have taken and we become less likely to achieve what might have been achieved.

In a time of change no outcome is ever guaranteed. But when we mistake our feelings for truth we load the dice against ourselves.

But when we remember that our feelings are not truth, they are just something we are experiencing for a short time, we take the first step to transforming the way we interpret our emotions from unhelpful tyrants into useful servants.

This is another step towards becoming antifragile.

Do you know anyone who believes something in spite of the evidence? What kinds of outcomes does that create for them and the people around them? Would they find it useful to have a structured approach for making clearer sense of the situation, finding more options to move forward, and then taking the actions needed to make the most inspiring option happen?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Carlos ZGZ via StockPholio.net

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