Default and Influence Behind Your Thinking

What Influenced Einstein To Think That Way

Have you discovered the default and influence behind your thinking? Whenever I am on a jeepney, I end up asking different questions about people’s default, their influences and the thinking behind their lives. I usually drift off in thoughts wondering what goes behind everybody’s mind. I also try to figure out the reason behind every person’s action. During a late night jeepney ride last week, I observed both the passengers inside the jeepney and the people outside the wide window as it plied through Cebu City’s main roads.

There are about two million people living in this city alone! Can you imagine how rich the city is with stories. The thought of two million different stories both tires and excites my mind which makes me ponder, ”What is the default setting of each mind?” Here is how you discover the internal default settings and the real influence behind our thinking.

Different Influence, Different Default

“There is a story behind every person and their thoughts”, I said to myself as I rode a late night jeepney from IT Park to my home. I looked through the window across me. The sight of a family of five waiting by the road with their fully packed bags got my attention.

”Are they moving out? What is the father contemplating about as he stares blankly at the street? Who has a better influence over the kids? Are they just visiting people elsewhere? How young are the parents?”, these thoughts went through my mind.

After a minute or two, the jeepney stops and an old couple boarded, the husband struggled with his balut basket as he made way through the narrow aisle.

”Have they sold everything? How did they end up selling these? How long have they been together? Are they happy with their life?”, I wondered.

I turned to my left and saw a sleepy call center agent as she slowly lost her grip on the overhead metal pole.

”How many hours does she work? What are her ambitions? Does she love her job? Is she happy with her current situation?”, I asked to myself.

With these questions, you already start to contemplate what affects people’s thoughts. Why do people do what they do? What makes them think like that?

Default thinking is where your thoughts go “automatically.” Have you ever thought about decisions that are easy for you to make? Why is it that easy? Have you been in situations where you end up arguing with people who thought differently?

Different backgrounds, different default

Under the Influence

I thought so much within that ten minute jeepney ride alone. So many faces, so many stories and yet we choose our default. Voluntary or not each default affects how we deal with our lives. The ones we listen to often. This is our built-in setting, our default. Inside every person is a set of prejudice and set way of thinking as well as cognitive biases. It is a mixture of environment, family, race and even DNA.

20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions
Business Insider recently sifted through a pile of research to create the infographic below, which highlights 20 of the most common cognitive biases that can lead to bad decision-making, including the idea that the more information you have, the more likely you are to make the smartest choice.

According to this article there are about nine sources of influence: self-talk, previous experiences, environment,senses, people, the future, media, your physical health, and your mental health. It says that you’re constantly being influenced by what goes on in your head and what is happening around you. That being more aware of how you are influenced can help you think and make decisions more rationally.

Breaking the Default in Thinking

The more aware you become, the more questions come into mind. Have you ever considered the causes or influences all around you? Knowing all of these will help start a slow change on what you don’t like about your life and begin to mindfully enjoy what you do like about it.

I always thought differently and I guess it is a trait most introverts share. Introspection helps you find clarity. People often ask me how I ended up thinking so differently and I cannot fully answer them. As far as I can remember, I always asked everything that I possibly could. The thirst for information always plagued me. It annoyed the hell out of my mother. A ten year old girl asking her on why we follow religious traditions. I maybe a result of a physical glitch. The doctor diagnosed me with an underdeveloped brain which meant that I experienced seizures and took phenobarbital to avoid them then. Anyhow back to you. How aware are you of your own preferences and prejudices?

Breaking the Cycle of Thought

If we understand what influence is and when it’s happening, we can try to take advantage of its upsides and avoid its down sides.

Jonah Berger

Real Education: Questioning Influence

Study hard, get good grades and then it is done, this is what is imprinted in all our minds. We are all inclined to think like this, however, this is just an established programming. Self-education is the real work for all adults. Not the kind that is limited to schools or universities. Education continues even after the diplomas are given out. Education in it’s purest and realest form means knowing what are the set beliefs we have in our mind.

Sometimes we see influence—we readily see our peers doing the same thing as the folks next to them. Yet there’s one place where we often fail to see influence, and that is ourselves. Often because it has a non-conscious effect on our behavior, we are not aware that it is influencing us.

Ilaria Schlitz

With all the constant distractions, being aware to not falling into the default setting of the daily rat-race is the ultimate super power of any human. Here are some tips on how to know what or who is influencing your way of thinking. Now, it is up to you to press the reset button to erase your default, choose the influences and change your thinking.

The freedom all to be lords of our own tiny skull sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation.

David Foster Wallace

Watch this video to expand how you think:

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