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Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel Blog

The Power of Perception: from the Change Agent

"If there was evidence that your communications were limiting your impact, undermining the case for equity, and possibly smearing those you seek to help, would you do something about it?"

From The "Racism Issue" of Change Agent 

Trabian Shorters believes too many of us are focusing on people's deficits — not their assets and strengths in our work. 

Trabian explains in The Power of Perception:

"...your mind is governed by two powerful systems. The first does 95% of your mental processing before thought by forming narratives based on the most available associations in your memory. It is prone to disregard facts that don’t fit these narratives." 

"The second is our conscious mind, which only activates when the first system encounters something it can’t handle, like a surprise, threat, curiosity, or learning situation."


"There are two hugely important consequences of this discovery."

"First, narratives matter more than facts because they tell us which facts to recognize and which to ignore...

"Second, these world-framing narratives that we automatically form are based on the associations that are most available to our minds, not necessarily the ones we consciously believe."

"If you’ve heard the word Muslim next to the word terrorist for 40 years as I have, your brain will automatically make that association. This doesn’t mean that you believe all Muslims are terrorists, but it means your brain won’t be surprised if a Muslim turns out to be a terrorist, and it preloads “terrorist” any time it thinks of Muslims. Which does make it easier for you to believe Muslims are predisposed to be terrorists, unfortunately."

"The important thing to remember is that the brain sees what it looks for and however you define people sticks, whether you want it to or not."


There are ways to disrupt this process.

To learn how, read on...  

Thanks to Sean Gibbons, CEO, The Communications Network, for the above excerpts.

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