Your brain is incredibly fast, but not very accurate.
This was a crucial distinction made long ago. Instead of sitting there determining the precise probability you’d be eaten by a tiger, early humans developed a fast thinking brain instead of an accurate one.
This kept us alive.
Of course, sometimes we made mistakes. But better safe than sorry.
We heard the crunch of a branch, and our brains told us there was a tiger nearby, so we ran away before we even knew what was happening. Even if that crunch was from a falling rock, we were still safe.
However, in our modern age, this can cause us a lot of problems.
If we give the wrong meaning to an external stimulus, it can lead to a less than resourceful model of how the world works.
This is especially dangerous when we’re operating from meanings that are from childhood.
What do I mean?
Let’s say you’re ten years old. You’re going door to door selling cookies or something.
You come across your mean neighbor a couple of doors down. She screams at you, and says kids shouldn’t bother people.
So you come up with a meaning that “selling things is dangerous.”
This happens quickly and unconsciously, and part of you remembers it every time you think of selling or persuading or influencing. You get a sense of “anxiety” deep in your gut, and you’re not sure where it comes from.
But was that original meaning accurate? Is selling things really dangerous?
Or is it dangerous to knock on the doors of mean old ladies while they are watching soap operas?
Or maybe selling is fun, and you also discover people to “mess with” later on, when you and your friends are bored? (ding dong ditch ’em anybody?)
The great thing about meaning is they are never set in stone. You can change them whenever you want.
This will give you a much more resourceful view of the world, and your place in it.