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Buddhists believe we create our own problems through ignorance. (Also hatred, fear, attachment but that is another blog.)

One thing I see more and more as I get older is that Buddhists are right about a lot if things. Because ignorance takes a lot of forms and it's not just as simple as "not knowing."

Here are 5 things I do to try and help myself be more objective and better informed.

1) Trust my gut, which is quiet (believe it or not) but persistent. Interestingly the more I try to ignore "inconvenient truth" the louder it gets.

2) Force myself to question groupthink. Oh, this is so hard. Nobody wants to be rejected or unpopular.

3) Force my brain open. I am a "J" in Myers-Briggs meaning I like closure. But your brain can close wrong and often does.

4) See people with the "third eye." People, like events and facts, are not always what they seem. A lot depends on your perspective. Your ego can tell you one thing while the truth is another.

5) Be willing to entertain the ugly truth but also willing to be bored with reality. We all can tell stories "nobody would believe" but most of us also know that day-to-day reality can be pretty mundane. You have to fight the impulse to deny a serious problem where one exists, but also the drive to create drama out of simple misunderstanding or even boredom.

I like the Buddhist idea of detaching from the world and detaching from ourselves in order to gain greater objectivity. To do that through meditation, exercise, hobbies etc. makes you more effective at work even if it feels like you are "goofing off."

Thanks to the smart people who have encouraged me to think freely and critically and to seek that state of balance.

Happy Friday!

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Tags: Miscellaneous, career, leadership

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Comment by Dick Davies on November 16, 2012 at 5:05pm

See people with the third eye

What a great way to create less casual, more rigorous perception!

Thanks, Dannielle!

Comment by Dannielle Blumenthal on November 16, 2012 at 12:44pm

Thanks for the kind feedback (although I can't pretend to understand that last one - it sounds good to me.)

Comment by Dennis Snyder on November 16, 2012 at 9:18am

I read an article many years ago about learning theory (I think Dr. Dobbs), that it was based on second-order equations.  That means 2 apexes and 3 slopes like this: /\/  The idea was that entrance to a problem was ramdom if you had no clue, and you could land anywhere on the curve.  To solve the problem you must reach an apex and thus have a 67% chance of hitting the curve in the right direction the first time.  Detachment from the frustration of heading in the wrong direction again randomizes where you enter and which direction.  So, the points about 3rd eye, forcing your brain open, and objectivity through detachment are quite valid and mathematically sound.  Great article.

Comment by Stephen Kinsella on November 15, 2012 at 1:58pm

packed with insight. thanks for sharing! 

Comment by David B. Grinberg on November 9, 2012 at 3:48pm

Interesting post, Dannielle -- and TGIF to you and yours. 

You may want to check out the book, "Buddhism, Plain & Simple: The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day" -- by Steve Hagen, a "Zen priest teaching at the Dharma Field Meditation and Learning Center in Minneapolis."

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