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Keith Tse

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Preconceptions

One very powerful yet highly negative aspect of human reasoning is preconceptions. We see it in society everyday in the form of racism, inequality and prejudice, whether it be racial, religious, generic or whatever label that we humans decide to classify (and hence divide) ourselves. Without doubt this is the most divisive and destructive force in human history. Just thinking about the number of wars and conflicts caused by hatred stemming from prejudice gives me chill. There is another less vicious form of preconception, however, which is, in my view, no less destructive, though more self-inflicting than externally-oriented. I am referring to a more general notion of ‘thinking too fast’, ‘jumping to conclusions’, ‘making premature decisions’ etc, which have done so much harm to our rational thinking (certainly in my own experience). So eager are we to achieve what we want and get to the end of our journey that we skip crucial steps and form false inferences and conjectures before examining all available evidence properly, or we anticipate the future with so much energy and enthusiasm (or fear and dread) that we assume certain results (good or bad) before we even get there. As a result of such preconceived assumptions, I have a feeling that we probably make a lot of miscalculations regarding ourselves and our environment and miss out on what is available to us, which seriously sabotages our chances of attaining the final success that we so much crave for. It is one thing to be enthusiastic about the future, but quite another to anticipate it so far ahead that we end up losing sight of what is going on around us and fail to make the right decisions at the right time. It is truly paradoxical that we want success or fear failure so badly that we assume it before we even get there and deprive ourselves of the many opportunities to develop and better ourselves, which is probably much more productive towards achieving success than anticipating it all the time. After all, thinking is not the same as doing, since while both are clearly important (i.e. one has to think before one acts and act after one thinks), it is futile to simply think about something without getting our hands dirty. Life is a lottery, but it is not a blind bet either. One doesn’t just roll a dice not knowing the potential outcomes and repercussions, and while we cannot live with complete confidence in what is going to happen (or not happen), we can certainly make intelligent decisions and steps towards making things happen, perhaps even to our advantage. Why not, then, just live life to the fullest, enjoy the moment and take things as they come? There is no point thinking too much about the things that have not even occurred, and the amount of (negative) energy spent on anticipating the future can be much more constructively used on the now, the actions that need to be taken, the situation that currently confronts us, and all the things that need to be done in order to get to where we want to be. Stop, then, trying to cheat life and yearn for things that do not belong to us, because if they truly belong to us, we will get them one way or another, and there is no pleasure in getting them when we patently do not deserve them. Don’t give up.

#success #paradox #motivation #life #time #productivity

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© Keith Tse (2015-) 

London, United Kingdom