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The 3 Things You Do With Information (That Can Hurt You)
When you take in information, you run it through a filter, namely you:
You have to, otherwise you’d die of overwhelm since there are billions of pieces of information assaulting your senses every second.
The problem comes when you’re deleting the key information that could change your life, or you're distorting your problems to make them worse than they actually are, or you're turning information into automation, and getting stuck in a pattern that no longer serves you.
Many perfectionists are great at deleting any piece of information that validates their worthiness, because then what do they have to keep striving for?
I have trouble remembering all of the cool stuff I’ve done the last 10 years but all the dumb stuff seems to be unforgettable.
We generally delete information that falls outside of our worldview, aka our “schema”. There was a study where a waiter would ask dozens of tables: “do you want me to hum when I bring your meal?” then they’d follow up with the table after the meal and discovered a large portion of meal goers couldn’t recall the question ever having been asked.
If you want to change (or help someone else change), one way is to take the key information outside of someone’s model of reality, and integrate it. Often I do this by providing what I believe is the key data through various perspectives, one after another until - like a locksmith - I crack the door open.
Then there’s distortion - where you downplay your wins as not so significant and overemphasize problems as catastrophic.
Once we closed a launch with $9.8 million in sales. It was 2AM in the morning. I hopped on the phone with my business partner, Wil and for 10 minutes we talked about how amazing the accomplishment was - then we spent 50 minutes talking about what we could do better.
Clients say things to me all the time like: “I can’t make Facebook ad works and I tried everything!”. Really, everything? Name me 126 things you tried. I’ve discovered “everything” means three things. Distortion. It felt like a lot of effort so therefore it was all the effort. In reality it was almost no effort in the grand scheme of things.
Finally, there is generalization. “Women don’t like bald guys”. There are over 3 billion women on the planet right now, and you’re telling me not a single one would date a bald guy. “I don’t have enough time.” Is your day 23 hours long? “It costs too much.” Compared to what?
Listen. We have to do these things - delete, distort and generalize - and often they serve their purpose but occasionally they trap us.
Show me a limitation in your life right now and I’ll uncover key pieces of information that you aren’t allowing in, other information you're misrepresenting, and assumptions you are operating on which are faulty. You can do the same for me. But now that you have some targets to go after, I think you just might stand a better chance of getting what you want.