Despondant? Gloomy? I can feel it from here.
But it’s curious that we had so many people feeling “destroyed” after this particular election. Sure, we had noticeable upset and protests when George W. got elected, but nothing like what is happening now.
What Was Different in the Trump Election?
Before we go there, I have to clue you in on something. How you feel now is due to how you’ve been thinking. and acting earlier. The way you’ve been doing things consistently form mental habits. The more you do things the same way, the more you re-enforce those habits.
These habits allow you to function in our modern society. They take care of all the “now-you’re-supposed-to’s” which are acceptable manners. They also allow you to drive a car and still carry on a conversation with someone else. Essentially, you are going back and forth between those two programs. If you get too focused on one or the other, then you’ll have a physical crash or your conversation will crash.
In life, we have a lot of these habits going on which remind us what we’ve decided to do when something else happens. And in general, this gets us through pretty well.
These habits also choose who we listen to and who we refuse to listen to. We’ve already chosen who to trust. These are the “authorities” in our life. In marketing-speak, these are also known as “influencers.”
Unfortunately, those authorities are usually following their own chosen (habitual) authorities. Earl Nightingale called this “following followers.” And what happens is that you have a cascade of habits which are pushed down stream, follower to follower, and so on. It’s also known as our modern culture. Hollywood is built on this, so is the broadcast news. There are assumptions made on mental habits which give us the data we accept as valid from trusted authorities we listen to.
And that can give us problems. Emotional upsets can result.
The Brittle Mindset Patterns That Lead to Crashes
Mindsets can be stacked in “brittle” habit-patterns. They are brittle because they are stacked on single datums that are true/false. Of course, there is fuzzy logic, which says a datum can be “mostly” true or false, and we can work with that and know that it might trip us up if we don’t watch it.
The trick is when the authorities you trusted give you data which they think as “true” when is is only partially true at best. In these days of instant data, we aren’t always able to instantly tell if something is a whopper, a white lie, or the gospel truth.
If you stack your mindset on datums you believe to be completely true, and they aren’t, then you’ll wind up with a stack-failure, a mental crash. Much like turning onto a street which is one-way in the opposite direction you want to go. Oops. Better turn around fast.
This occurs when you’ve accepted something that wasn’t true, or that gives you different results than you were expecting.
People who experience mindset crashes have been lied to.
If we have so many people suffering though these gloomy patches following this last election, we can then assume that there have been a considerable amount of lying going on.
The Liars We Have Depended On
Unfortunately, we trust some people a little too much. Maybe they didn’t intend to lie, but the result is the same. We didn’t get the results we expected.
There are two types of people which are supposed to find the truth and report them all the time:
- Broadcast Media (Journalists)
The problem with Scientists is that they are human. And their bias can show up in their results. One study says that because of this bias, and other frailties, all scientific studies are about 50% wrong (see a readable version here, or the Public Library of Science article itself).
And our all-too-human media has been found biased regardless of what they do or what station they are on. A huge article on Wikipedia covers this. Essentially, if you watch broadcast news, you are always being fed partial truths at best. This is perhaps why, with the rise of alternative media through the Internet, and the rising number of mobile devices, broadcast media trust is at an all-time low (See AP, Gallup). Pew reports that people who get their news primarily from TV sources trust those sources more highly than those who don’t.
All this means is that if you can’t prove what your news sources are saying is true, you’re going to have to trust them. And it means that you’re going to have multiple sources to compare and also a system in place to work out which is telling you more truth than the others – if only for that story.
“Fake news” is only fake if it doesn’t support your beliefs on a subject. William James (called the Father of American Psychology) stated in his 1847 paper “The Will to Believe” that a person’s faith can create “its own verification.” Or what a person thinks can make what they believe become a fact.
When the fact, or those stacks of facts, are proved false, then the mindset can become unstable. Other programmed habits called emotions can come into play. And there you have the crash. There’s the despondency, the feeling of being “destroyed.”
How to Build a Resilient Mindset, Free from Mental Crashes
I’ve carefully stayed away from what was said during the campaign we just endured. Even mentioning the word “election” probably acted as a trigger for some of you. Again, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have had to go through that.
It’s not enough to say that “Life isn’t Fair.”
What we need to be able to do is to examine and re-stack our mindset so that we can ride out the storms we experience in any lifetime, in any situation. In any election cycle.
When you build on facts, you take a huge chance. Some or all of these facts may not be completely true. Like any equation, if you don’t know that the things you are dealing with actually exist as described, then your result will be in question or wrong. Three apples and two oranges put in the same bag gives you five pieces of fruit in a bag. You don’t get more of either type. Only a fruit salad would be improved by adding more fruit – and only then if you added fruit that would make it more tasty. Bananas could. Lemons might not work.
Your mindset is capable of fantastic things. And your mindset helps you survive in the environment you live in daily. Don’t expect that someone from a cattle ranch in Montana would be able to safely navigate from New Jersey to New York City as a commuter. Similarly, don’t put someone raised in Manhattan out on a gravel back road with her high heels and expect her to figure out how to get to the nearest town (with cel towers that may not work for her phone.) The person in either scenario could solve them. Just wouldn’t be easy.
Resilient mindsets are built on systems, not static dogma. Your mind is part of a natural system. How you’ve programmed it up to this point is probably mostly with stacks of “facts” of one type or another. All you have to do is to figure out how to replace some of those facts with systems.
You’re In Luck, Here’s the Pitch…
You’re going to need a system to sort out the facts you’ve swallowed all your life. You aren’t going to be able to re-stack your mindset overnight. But the good news is that you are already constantly sorting out your mindset stack every day. It’s called learning.
But you don’t want to spend a long time at this. It’s uncomfortable, at best. Your friends might look at you oddly or give you what seems like strange advice. Psychologists say that is takes a person 12 years to get over being in a cult for just a few years.
I say that even a week at having these despondent emotions is too long. You can get over a cold faster. (Of course a depression can cause a cold, and that really sucks.)
So I’ve written and started publishing a book to help you.
You can make yourself great again. Actually, it’s a native ability you have.
Of course, you don’t have to do anything but keep learning and you’ll feel better eventually. Depends how long you like “eventually.” But it won’t cost you a dime. Or doesn’t have to, anyway.
It also won’t cost you a dime.
Regardless of what you do, good luck.