Man is largely a creature of habit, and many of his activities are more or less automatic reflexes from the stimuli of his environment – G. Stanley Hall (Pioneering Psychologist, 1st President of American Psychological Association)
Master Wuji says, “We are a product of our perceptions and habits”
We operate, daily, from several conditions.
You may ask, “What forms these conditionings?”
Our family, friends, relatives, teachers, education system, media, books, role models, traditions, culture, life experiences…
The list is endless. Any and every source of information that you can think of is shaping our conditioning.
And this word “conditioning” has many synonyms also. Some may feel very important and necessary. For example, my beliefs, values, preferences, likes, dislikes, standards, preferences, and so on. All these are various forms of conditioning only. When conditioning is not very strong, then I may call it “preference” and when it becomes a conviction, then I call it “belief”. In the end, everything is “borrowed ground”.
Life Coaches often refer to conditioning as a “convenient assumption”. It may seem odd at first and it may appear offending also to some. That’s ok. Just stay with me and I will clarify…
All the information I receive from others is nothing more than their conditioning. It is their interpretation of life. It is not life. We all interpret. We all perceive it. Perception means hidden assumptions. Any information, that is based on assumptions, is also assumptions. However, we feel so convinced about our assumptions that we neither question them, nor we like anybody else question them. We confidently pass them to others, who further use them to build their conclusions. And like this, assumptions are passed from one mind to the other, in the name of experience, knowledge, wisdom, tradition, culture, rules, regulations, standards, and so on. Whoever accepts them, it becomes their conditioning. It’s the pair of glasses that they put on to see the world.
This phenomenon is a psychological truth, meaning, we all see the world through our glasses of conditioning. It is impossible to get rid of these glasses. I can change these glasses. I can change my conditioning to something that serves, supports,s and nurtures me better. But I can’t get rid of it completely.
Master Wuji takes a small pause and continues. You must be thinking, “Why is it important to know all this?” Good question.
These conditions impact our thoughts.
- Thoughts create Feelings
- Feelings create Behavior
- Behavior creates Attitude
Attitude impacts our Actions and decides the Results.
This sequence is hard-wired. We can’t hack it or by-pass it.
We can become self-aware about this and live in harmony with it.
Let me explain this with an example:
Suppose you see bad news on the TV in the morning. There is a child-kidnapper operational in your city.
This information created conditioning in your mind that there is so much crime these days; the city is unsafe for the kids.
Coincidently, your daughter got late to return from school in the afternoon.
Right away, the thought about the kidnapper (from the news in the morning) crosses your mind.
You become anxious and stressed (feelings).
You become hyper and start calling people to enquire (behavior).
You are afraid and worried (attitude).
Now imagine that you didn’t see that news in the morning and you didn’t know anything about the kidnapper.
This time, you will not panic so much about your daughter getting late.
You may feel concerned and you will take action accordingly but you will not be hyper, anxious, and afraid.
And this different attitude will keep you in a controlled state of mind to handle the situation.
Master Wuji takes another small pause and continues. “Now the last part. How to use this knowledge in Learning and Development?”
Throughout our life, we learn how to talk, how to listen, how to do stuff, and so on.
Rarely we learn how to think.
We mostly work on our behavior and attitude. We rarely look “behind the scene” and reflect where all this behavior and attitude is coming from.
When we identify Training Needs for our team, we often focus on the behavior and attitude aspects only.
In the above example, when we see someone panicking and stressing, then we can pre-maturely jump to the conclusion that they need training on Stress Management. We often don’t take a pause ourselves to self-reflect and we rarely encourage the other person to do so.
If we create an environment that helps people to self-reflect on their conditionings, then they become more aware of the accurate reasons behind their behavior and attitude. This helps to identify appropriate learning and development methods instead of only relying on superficial and inaccurate behavior. Not only that, people will take ownership of undergoing such a learning & development opportunity because they themselves have identified the need for it. The bonus advantage of this approach is that the RoI on such training is high for the organisation as employees implement their learning with full enthusiasm.
Author / Educator – Sachin Sharma, Author | Managing Director, Wuji International
I’m passionate about Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Development. I’ve created an Organisation Culture Development Framework called Invisible Leadership. It addresses complex HR challenges by application of Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence. Challenges such as High Attrition, Low Retention, Office Politics, Diversity & Inclusion, Gender Inequality, Bullying & Harassment, Low Employee Engagement, Good to Great Leadership Journey, and so on.. At Wuji International, our team is passionate about solving such challenges, mindfully.