October 18, 2018
I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject of jumping to conclusions.
It’s amazing to me how often people do that. OK, I admit it: it’s really amazing to me how much I do that! So, as usual, when I have something on my mind, it leads to a talk.
In Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong, she talks about the work of Robert Burton, a neurologist who explains why we jump to conclusions and why it can be so hard to stop. According to him, our brains reward us with dopamine whenever we recognize and complete patterns, whenever we fill in the gaps and reach an understanding about something.
The problem is we don’t have to be right to get this dopamine hit; we just need to think we’re right.
Wow! That was an epiphany for me. I have certainly experienced the sense of satisfaction that comes with “figuring it out,” the smugness of reaching a conclusion and being able to “enlighten” someone else. I didn’t know that there was also a physiological process that happens in that situation. So all I have to do is THINK I’m right, and I get a hit of dopamine! No wonder so many of us think that being right leads to being happy.
Come explore this idea with us on Sunday. And in the meantime see if you can notice when you jump to conclusions. Then stop yourself and open your mind to the idea that your conclusion might not be accurate. Ask some questions. Explore other possible conclusions. Remind yourself of the Universe present in each moment.
Approach each moment with a beginner’s mind and a lover’s heart.
Peggy Christiansen is the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Fort Collins. She has over 25 years of ministry experience working with diverse populations, a M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a special interest in helping people find and/or develop their unique spiritual paths. Listen to podcasts of her Sunday talks.