In today’s world, we are constantly being exposed to new information in the media, news, articles, blogs, books, TV, movies, or conversations we have with others.
In many ways, this abundance of information allows us to reach a new level of education that wasn’t before possible. However, it can also lead to a lot of misinformation which can distort our views and beliefs.
One recent study shows that exposure to misinformation can be very “sticky” in our minds. Even if we are told afterwards that something we learned isn’t true, that misinformation still influences our future choices.
This is especially true if the misinformation we consume conforms to our pre-existing beliefs or if it’s something we have very little outside knowledge about.
For these reasons and many more, it’s important that you are careful of what you let enter your mind.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Due to a never-ending stream of new information and misinformation, we need to always be open to learning new things and adjusting our views in the face of this new evidence.
It’s really easy to find evidence for something that you agree with. It’s a lot harder to willingly seek information that could possibly prove you wrong. But this is often a necessary part of critical thinking.
In another study, it was found that the negative effects of misinformation can be diminished if we are critical of what we consume while we are consuming it.
It’s important that you don’t just absorb information passively, but that you actively question everything you let enter your mind.
Whenever you find yourself learning something new, ask yourself:
- How true is this?
- What is the source of these claims?
- What evidence do they have to support these views?
- What evidence might go against supporting these views?
- Do these views seem logical and rational?
- What are other possible views that may be a better alternative?
- Where can I do more research?
In a healthy and functioning mind, beliefs need to be flexible and open to change. We rarely have all the facts and evidence, so when we learn new things we have to be able to adapt.
Everything you let enter your mind can shape your consciousness and beliefs in some way, often times without us even realizing it. By taking a little more caution in what you let enter your mind, you can take greater control of how your consciousness is shaped.
Of course, you can’t monitor everything that enters your mind 24/7 – that would be impractical and a bit paranoid. At the same time, it may do you some good to cut certain things out of your life to minimize their negative influence on you.
At the end of the day, just pay a little more attention to what you let enter your mind and how it may be influencing you.
Stay updated on new articles and resources in psychology and self improvement: