Mindfulness: Part-1, Gaining Wisdom by Understanding


Friday, 17 May 2024 08:01
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Do you find it intolerable to listen to opinions that are contrary to yours?  Do you seek information that only fortifies your own opinions and shuns anything contrary?  Is this limiting your ability to become a wiser, more fulfilled person?  If so, you might consider appreciating the contrary opinions of others.
 
Listening to and accepting as somewhat valid the contrary opinions of others isn’t easy to do, especially when we dislike them because we don’t understand their true motivations.  Part-1 of this 5-part “mindfulness” series will introduce the concepts of mindfulness and wisdom and how our strongest emotion and our style attributes can inhibit our ability to becoming more open-minded—wiser.  Part-2 of this series will focus on the wisdom gained by better understanding strong Directors; Part-3 by better understanding strong Relators; Part-4 by better understanding strong Analyzers; and Part-5 by better understanding strong Socializers.
 
Why Should I Want to be Wiser—what’s in it for me?
 
Greater wisdom can help you lead a more positive life, reducing your negative anger/fears and increasing your positive joy/love.  The wiser person has less self doubt, improving their self image and feeling of self worth.  True, it is much easier to emotionally react than it is to suppress those emotions and positively, rationally, appropriately react.  To do this we need to “step outside ourselves” (ignore our opinions) and rationally, sincerely consider the opposite opinions of others.  When we do, we can then extract out and incorporate those elusive facts into our opinions.  And the more factual our opinions are the wiser we become giving us a better understanding of: “what is true, right and lasting and the good sense to employ it”.  Plus, by understanding the motivations of others we allow ourselves to find the best in them instead of assuming the worse in them.  We do merit a wiser life through a better understanding of others (and ourselves)—that’s what’s in it for you! 
 
Helpful Definitions:
 
Mindfulness: When we are attentive, heedful, considerate, etc., of others
 
Knowledge: The information and skills acquired by humans through real-life experiences
Intelligence: The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge to better survive
Wisdom: Understanding of what is true, right and lasting and having the good sense to employ it
 
Fact: Knowledge that has an objectively real demonstrable existence and reoccurrence
Opinion: A confident belief/conclusion not totally supported by factual knowledge
Reacting Appropriately: Employing the most pertinent rational style for the situation (my definition)
 
It’s Easier to Spurn Contrary Opinions than it is to Validate them
 
We all store emotional and rational memories that create our opinions, even when those opinions are completely contrary to enduring facts.  Our emotional opinions are even less factual than our rational opinions, which are influenced by our strongest rational style’s attributes.  Unfortunately, our emotions overpower our rationale making our opinions difficult to modify, which deprives us of truth—I guess that’s why people say, “ignorance is bliss”.
 
When we only seek supporting opinions and avoid contrary opinions we fail to avail ourselves of the facts/truths that elude us—nobody’s opinions are totally factual or totally false.  Others have experiences that we don’t have, which contain truths that elude us.  To extract out that elusive truth we must first accept their contrary opinion as containing some validity.  Next we must “step outside of ourselves” by putting our opinions aside and objectively listening to what they have to say.  We must then incorporate those elicited truths into our lacking opinions, making them more factual—but not necessarily a fact.  Maybe an example will help:
 
Clearly, we all use 100% of our knowledge—what else is there—and that knowledge increases when we are open-minded about our daily experiences.  For the average educated person maybe 80% is somewhat factual leaving about 20% erroneous/inaccurate.  Those 20% erroneous memories are difficult to transmute to possible wisdom because they are triggered by strong emotions.  Of that 80%, probably 65% is common knowledge and the other 15% may contain the knowledge we seek to become wiser—or maybe not since not all knowledge makes us wiser.  Also, some people are wisdom-shallow, saying the same meaningless things over and over again with nothing new to learn from them—it is best to bypass them when they are thrown in our path.
 
Important!  Our goal is to make our rational opinions more factual and not to make the contrary opinions of others more factual, which negates us “stepping outside ourselves” to ignore our opinions/facts.  Yes, it is wonderful when everyone can “step outside of themselves” and incorporate what the knowledge they lack, but it isn’t necessary for making our opinions more factual; it is just an added bonus if others become wiser—which it usually does.  The fact is, when we find value in other’s contrary opinion the other person will be willing to listen to our opinions (should we later voice them) and also become wiser.  Also, two contrary opinions can contain similar thoughts, forming a basis of agreement and making it easier to accept each other’s contrary thoughts, which hopefully contain some elusive truths that make us wiser.
 
Our Strongest EMOTIONS Limit our Wisdom:
 
When interacting with a distressed spouse, family member, co-workers, etc., who has strong emotional opinions triggered by negative emotional memories, it is best to avoid each other until that stress abates.  But when it is crucial to resolve the issue immediately, you need to calm them down.  To do that refer to the following pearls: “Dealing the Extreme Emotions of Anger & Rage”, “Dealing the Extreme Emotions of Fear & Terror”, “Dealing the Extreme Emotions of Sorrow & Despair”, and “Dealing the Extreme Emotions of Joy & Mania”.  And once the emotions have abated all will have a chance to become wiser.
 
Our Strongest RATIONAL STYLES can Limit our Wisdom:
 
Our strong emotions limit our wisdom since they negate rational thoughts containing viable truths.  Likewise, our strongest style’s attributes can limit our ability to accept contrary truths that could make us wiser.  Unfortunately, we’ll learn little from others when we misinterpret their motivations or when we become emotional.  Below is a short summary of how our strongest style’s attributes can affect our ability to become wiser.  The next four pearls in this series will deal with understanding the motivations of strong directors, relators, analyzers and socializers to reduce our negative emotional reactions that limit our wisdom.
 
When using the Director Style we exhibit the following attributes:
 
Our task-oriented Purpose is: to deal with confrontation/hindrance
Our Symbiotic Emotion is Anger (whose purpose is: to alert us to confrontation/hindrance)
Our Motivations are: 1) Only my Opinions matter; 2) Only my Concerns matter; 3) Only my Decisions matter
 
It is obvious from motivation 1) that the opinions of others are irrelevant if they conflict with a strong director’s opinions.  Strong directors, especially when stressed, employ very selective listening.  They rationally extract out what you say that they agree with and ignore the rest—they essentially make a quick decision to limit their wisdom.  Thus, if you are a strong director you limit your wisdom when you don’t open up to the validity of contrary opinions.  Also, if you are living with a strong director you can gain wisdom if you “step outside of yourself” and allow yourself to better understand their motivations (and thus opinions) as presented in Part-2 of this series.
 
When using the Relator Style we exhibit the following attributes:
 
Our people-oriented Purpose is: to maintain our connections
Our Symbiotic Emotion is Sorrow (whose purpose is: to alert us to a disconnection)
Our Motivations are: 1) Only others Opinions matter; 2) Only others Concerns matter; 3) Only others Decisions matter
 
It is also obvious from Motivation 1) that the opinions of others are very important, even if they conflict with our relator opinions.  But strong relator’s are indecisive (Motivation 3), making it difficult to reform their opinions and become wiser, since it might cause a disconnection.  Thus, if you are a strong relator you limit your wisdom when you don’t decide to embrace the truths in contrary opinions.  Also, if you are living with a strong relator you can gain understanding (and wisdom) if you “step outside of yourself” and allow yourself to better understand their motivations (and opinions) as presented in Part-3 of this series.
 
When using the Analyzer Style we exhibit the following attributes:
 
Our task-oriented Purpose is: to cautiously proceed
Our Symbiotic Emotion is Fear (whose purpose is: to alert us to danger)
Our Motivations are: 1) To avoid loss or pain; 2) To do what I’m obligated to do; 3) To distrust most situations
 
Analyzers are good listeners, but their opinions are not easily enhanced since Motivation 3) makes them distrust contrary opinions.  Motivation 2) perpetuates what they already believe and Motivation 1) makes them fear changing their opinions.  Thus, if you are a strong analyzer you limit your wisdom when you are too cautious to accept the validity of contrary opinions.  Also, if you are living with a strong analyzer you can gain understanding (and wisdom) if you “step outside of yourself” and allow yourself to better understand their motivations (and opinions) as presented in Part-4 of this series.
 
When using the Socializer Style we exhibit the following attributes:
 
Our people-oriented Purpose is: to avoid our negative connections and embrace our positive connections
Our Symbiotic Emotion is Joy (whose purpose is: to alert us to our connections)
Our Motivations are: 1) To pursue pleasure and gain; 2) To be unconstrained; 3) To trust most situations
 
The style’s purpose and Motivation 1) allows strong socializers to better accept the contrary opinions of positive connections.  Motivation 2) allows strong socializers to listen to and possibly accept all kinds of opinions—unfortunately strong socializers don’t listen very much.  They only listen long enough to get a gist of what you are saying and then assume the rest.  This type of listening doesn’t allow them to ferret out elusive facts that would make them wiser.  Thus, if you are a strong socializer you limit your wisdom when you don’t listen to the entire contrary opinion.  Also, if you are living with a strong socializer you can gain wisdom if you “step outside of yourself” and allow yourself to better understand their motivations (and opinions) as presented in Part-5 of this series.
 
Stop Limiting Your Wisdom!
 
Learn how to “stand beside yourself and listen”.  Please refer to the Personality Pearl: “Dealing with Extreme Emotions, Part-I, Free Will to Act” for a method to “stand beside yourself and listen”.
 
Avoid negative media programming (pod casts, news stations, social media platforms, etc.) since most of them have little wisdom to offer and since they are mostly concerned with making a buck.  Avoid interacting with negative, angry, fear mongering individuals who may have some wisdom to offer, along with a lot of stressful negativity.
 
I hope that this introduction to this 5-part series has helped you to better understand how you can become wiser and lead a more fulfilling life with less stress.  The next pearl in this series “Mindfulness, Part-2, Understanding Strong Directors” will deal with how to better understand the motivations of strong directors, making your coexistence with them less discordant.
 
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