Thursday, January 17, 2013

Unwrapping your beliefs is important for your growth

If i ask you a question, "What is your belief about a person like Mahesh Bhatt ( whom you have not met)?' in a nice classroom setting you will answer this question in a very cool, rational, and calculated way. You will try to recollect many of the past stories you have heard about him, try to reason your thoughts, and then respond in a very deliberate manner.

But if i give you this interview of Mahesh Bhatt, which seems to be done at a very personal level, you will respond almost immediately and without any barriers. These are 'semi-dense' situations, situations in which you use lot of your head and less of your emotions. Fully dense situations are ideal to 'unwrap' your beliefs, because both emotions and mind equally strong.

But because we encounter very few 'dense' situations in our life, we must learn to use these semi-dense situations to know more about ourself. This helps us grow faster. For instance, your response to this interview of Mahesh Bhatt will tell you about 'YOUR' intrinsic beliefs about many aspects of your own life, instead of telling you about Mahesh Bhatt. If you use these situations intelligently, you will be able to grow mentally. Remember that your intra-personal ability is not only a big accelerator for growth, but also becomes a bottleneck for growth  if not developed adequately. 

Let us, for instance, use this opportunity of Mahesh Bhatt's interview. Read this interview from end to end, and write your response on a piece of paper. Write whatever comes to your mind. Be honest and frank with yourself. At least, try to answer these three questions after you read the interview: 1> Write your evaluation of your Mahesh Bhatt as a person? For instance, do you think he is genuinely good person or a fraud or ... 2> Do you think Mahesh Bhatt could be right in his way of doing his work? 3> Do you think Mahesh Bhatt is a good father or a good husband?

Here are some clues to understand your own beliefs from the above interview of Mahesh Bhatt (semi-dense situation):

1. You could be giving an overt emotional reaction: If you think Mahesh Bhatt is a 'liar' or a person who just hogs ' attention', or is a hypocrite, or his interview was 'fabricated' etc, then you are letting your 'beliefs' dominate your thoughts. Your emotion is crowding your thinking. Remember, we are not aware of any truth even after reading this. Our emotional reaction is not just based on what Mahesh Bhatt is 'saying', but on our accumulated belief about 'Entertainment industry professionals' that we have formed till now.

2. Your views could be dominanted by religious linkages : If your reaction is driven by his 'Muslim' mother, and other aspects of his 'Muslim' views, then your reaction is perhaps governed by your own 'anti-muslim' sentiments. It is ok to be pro-muslim or pro-hindu, but when it comes in the way of evaluating someone ( and that too only on the basis of heard interviews and newspaper comments), we should start worrying.

3. Your views of Entertainment business could be filtering your evaluation : Most of us work in professions where our personal values are not brought into foreground in our work-life; they remain in the background. For instance, our personal views of 'how movies should be done' are not expressed in our work, but they are highlighted when we talk and think of movies. If we have strong one sided views of how movie should be done, we express them indirectly at such occassion. And if they are 'contrary' to what Mahesh Bhatt is saying or doing, we will 'dislike' Mahesh Bhatt. We have the right to have our own views, but we do not have the right to evaluate others through its lens. Morever, do remember that, our views are just ring-side academic views. If we are inside the 'movie business', we may have different views. Psychologists observe such differences in every individual; they call it hot-cold empathy gap.

4. Your views about Mahesh Bhatt being a good father could be based on hearsay evidence:. We can have different beliefs about what it is to be a good father and so on. We are responsible for our beliefs and therefore we must take care while adopting them, not just blindly follow someone else's beliefs. But when we are trying to evaluate someone else on our criteria, we should be extra-careful. We should not judge them on our benchmark, especially when when we are evaluating an inter-personal relationship ( a relationship of father and daughter!).  Please remember that our evaluation of Mahesh Bhatt as a good father/husband is only based on hearsay evidence. To know whether he is a good father or husband, we should be asking his daughter and wife.


Unwrapping our beliefs is important for you, because beliefs block us from understanding the as-is reality.  With beliefs, we see things through a lens and therefore tend to mis-read the situations. It is therefore important to unwrap the beliefs and be aware of them, instead of getting 'used' by them.Please read this blog to understand how beliefs and emotions are intrinsically related.

Every semi-dense situations highights different aspect of our beliefs. For instance, Norway incident highlighted our belief about of 'whites and blacks'.

Should you do analysis of every such semi-dense event in your life? Not for all events. But, whenever you have strong views about something, you should press a pause button, and take a time-out to review your beliefs. For instance, if you are not having any views about Mahesh Bhatt, you would not have found the above exercise of reacting to Mahesh Bhatt's interview beneficial for you. But you can use the above format for some other semi-dense event in your life. 

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