PREMATURE COGNITIVE COMMITMENTS (PCC's)
When we make a premature cognitive commitment, we leap to a conclusion before having enough data to make a truly informed choice. Once a person makes a premature cognitive commitment, once they've arrived at their assessment about a person or situation, they may also close their mind to any future change in perspective. PCC's give people a false sense of safety and security.
We all have a number of premature cognitive commitments created in childhood, and these beliefs about reality actually shape our perception and subsequent experiences.
"Common sense is a collection of prejudices acquired by age 18."
~ Albert Einstein ~
: happening, arriving, existing, or performed before the proper, usual, or intended time
: having a basis in empirical factual knowledge.
: the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action
In summary – PCC's are boxing (limiting) oneself to a thought or belief prior to obtaining all the information.
Also identified as:
The harm it causes:
Interferes with constructive learning
Promotes attitude and feelings of defeatism
Eliminates personal responsibility
Leads to single-minded explanations
Reduces sense of personal control
"Thoughts and feelings seem to engulf us faster than we can observe them arising within us.
Thus we tend to live our lives in a state of nearly perpetual reaction and self-protection."
~ Richard Moss, M.D. ~
Most often, our PCC’s are perspectives we’ve adapted--for whatever reasons--because they made sense at one time, and we’ve held onto them mindlessly ever since.
In some cases the effect is positive. At the other extreme, PCC’s too often work against us. The good news is that we can change the ones that limit us, into ones that reflect the potential available to us.
Years ago, Zig Ziglar would tell a story about circus elephants, which is also being told today by Dr. Deepak Chopra in relation to elephants in India. Elephants are trained as a baby by tying an iron chain around one foot and attaching this iron chain to a stake in the ground. This chain and stake is strong enough to hold the baby elephant. Over a period of time the full-grown elephant is conditioned to believe that this same iron chain tied to a small stake in the ground is strong enough to keep it in place. It "could" easily pull the stake out of the ground and walk away. But it doesn't because it's made a commitment, from it's babyhood that it has adopted as continuing truth, without testing it. It believes that the small chain and stake in the ground is still stronger than it is, as a full grown strong beast. One tug on the chain and the release of the stake from the ground would begin the process of breaking the elephants PCC.
For years everyone was told that it was impossible to break a 4 minute mile. In “fact” a person would have a heart attack by simply attempting it. Roger Bannister broke that record and that "fact". Bannister focused Mindfully on his training and not the "fact".
Throughout our development years we hear opinions from multiple sources, which we adopt as truth without any additional information. As we grow into adulthood, we have the opportunity to revisit these PCC's and with all the now available information, and our collective experiences, determine if they are, in fact, true today.
Some people remain trapped by their PCC’s. If they accepted as a child, that the world was flat, then it could not possibly be round today!
When we operate within those PCC’s we made when we were a child, they may limit our personal possibilities today. What appears to be rock solid one day can vaporize the next. Life has infinite possibilities all coexisting all at the same time.
Each of us carries certain deeply embedded beliefs about our possibilities in life. Rarely do we question them or examine them or consider how they might be influencing us. Our health, energy, happiness, accomplishments, and relationships are greatly affected by PCC’s.
Only when we stop and question our assumptions, can we see how greatly some of these beliefs have restricted our choices, and how they are affecting our behavior and its outcomes far more than we’ve realized. This does not remove us from responsibility for our actions as an adult. In fact, as an adult you can Mindfully notice habitual cognitions such as beliefs, assumptions, prejudices and ways of judging situations and people.
Identifying our PCC’s is as easy as becoming more curious about our expectations, and especially knee-jerk reactions. Ask yourself where this opinion or assumption came from. Then open your mind to new possible interpretations.
Stop, reflect, be curious and check things out before acting.
Just because you believed something for along time, doesn’t mean you have to believe it for the rest of your life.
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