What You Need to Know

When we are young, we go to school because our parents know that we must learn everything we need to know to handle the life we have ahead of us. When we have learned the basics of how things work, we set out on our journey and we understand our surroundings based on what we have learned in school.

As young adults, we rely on the world to be how it was when we were back in school without too many surprises. What we are talking about here is the reliability of the world around us to be somewhat predictable. Unannounced or unplanned changes to our normal life are generally not much fun and here’s why. Changes in our lives produce new perceptions.

When things change, our initial perception of what has changed becomes the default perception in our brain. If we then discover new information contradicting that perception, the brain designates it as an exemption and attempts to shove it to the side and just ignore it and hope it goes away. Of course, it does not which does one of two things. It easily becomes your new reality, your new perception or it activates cognitive dissonance.

The result of cognitive dissonance can go one of two ways. It either presents you with a clearing for growth and new ways to handle the inevitable changes you face or it crashes your entire system leaving you in a fetal position under your bed. In the end, all of this becomes our brain’s default perception. If we later learn information that contradicts that perception, our brain categorizes it as an exception, rather than using the information to alter the rule.

Specifically, we associate the exception with the context of that new information; all other contexts get the ‘default’ association. Say, for example, your first impression of a new coworker is negative, but you end up having a pleasant conversation when you run into him or her at the gym and change your mind. In the context of the gym, you’ll see the person more deeply, but anywhere else (be it work, or even a new environment such as a restaurant), you’ll still be guided by your first impression.

What this means is that perceptions are always going to be with us to guide us through our journey. As such, we can do one of two things. We can take a moment and ponder what changes are and how they affect us. A reasonably intelligent individual will then see that changes are immutable, relevant, and inevitable, revealing a thought pattern that allows us to take steps to prepare for the next change that will always be coming down the pike. Or, we can spend a lot of time in a fetal position under the bed.

Here the reader should behold the unpreventable and as they say in the military, keep your head on a swivel. Knowing changes will soon be upon us is an essential part of life here on Terra.