Predicting danger - Part One

Our minds continually orient us amidst changing circumstances by making predictions. If our minds failed to make these predictions, we'd constantly be surprised by what we felt, smelled, tasted, heard and saw. We could get maxed out instantly by so much that was unexpected, surprising, and unlike previous experiences at first. We need to make predictions to cope with the overwhelming intensity of stimuli our five senses deliver to our brains. We also rely on predictions to deal with the complexity of people, relationships, conflicts and power differentials. We could not go shopping, meet new people or embark on new adventures without a robust set of predictions.

In this context, we may get a piece of emotional baggage whenever something awful happens that we failed to predict. We desperately correct our previous misreading of the situation while continuing to be fearful that we might get it wrong again. We remain apprehensive about what to look out for, what to examine more closely and what to instantly regard as dangerous. We predict what will get us in trouble instantly, after a short while, or only if we provoke it. We foresee how much trouble, how long lasting and how frequent the danger will be to us. We anticipate how much control we can have over it, how much it can be altered by us and how difficult it is to get out of harms way. Making predictions under pressure may result in baggage, but not necessarily.

Some predictions are easily modified. It's no big deal if we get it wrong at first. We're open to changing our predictions when the feedback seems reliable and trustworthy. We rely on failed predictions to fine tune them, challenge our false assumptions and revise our map of how incidents are connected. When we're open to modifying our predictions, we're using our human intelligence resourcefully. We can get over what happened without lingering hang-ups, inhibitions, hot buttons or panic attacks. We update our predictions without acquiring any emotional baggage.

Some of our predictions appear to be set in stone. We cannot modify them by rational thought processes or talking to ourselves. We're locked into a set of predictions that reject: 1) contradictory feedback, 2) our newer conscious desires and 3) the latest changes in our circumstances. We're convinced that the pressures to change these fixed predictions are unreliable, potentially dangerous and detected to be decidedly antagonistic. We are carrying around some emotional baggage.

In Part Two, we'll explore opposing pairs of unchanging predictions that create openings for modifying them intelligently.

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