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God is Talking -- Are You Listening? Part 3 
By W. Bradford Swift

Bias

Let's face it, we are all biased about something and really about almost everything. We all have unexamined notions, assumptions and beliefs, some which often masquerade as truth. Those are the ones that can act as a large boulder in our path to getting the most out of life. We bring our bias with us to any new relationship although we often don't notice we're doing this, mainly because we do it so often that our bias is simply part of the "background noise" of our lives.

If we're not mindful, our unexamined notions, assumptions and beliefs that make up our bias will effectively prevent us from evolving and growing from the relationship. In other words, anything that doesn't fit in our normal paradigm or world view will be discounted, ignored, glossed over or rejected. An important part of coaching is revealing these previously unexamined notions, assumptions and beliefs, particularly the ones that are so unexplored as to be transparent -- viewed as simply the way life is.

But how can we detect these boulders of bias when they threaten to knock us off course? For starters, begin to notice how you react or respond when in conversation with someone else. Often, when we hear a different viewpoint or opinion that doesn't match our own, we react, sometimes quite strongly. When we're operating from our bias, we often listen to see if we agree or disagree with what the person is saying. And the more strongly we disagree, the more sacred the "truth" is that's being called into question.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you should simply accept everything anyone says as true, either. That would be erring at the other end of the spectrum. The starting point once again is awareness. Begin to notice while in a conversation with another person the tendency to listen to see if you agree or disagree with what the other person is saying. That's a good indication that your bias may be interfering with your ability to fully hear what's being said.

Have you noticed that with each of these 3 mental blocks we've explored -- monkey mind, the full cup syndrome and bias -- that the key to releasing the block is awareness? When we become aware that these mental blocks exist in all of us, then we can begin to be responsible for them. This then makes it possible to set them aside and to design new ways of thinking that will enhance the value we can receive from others.

W. Bradford Swift is director of Life On Purpose Institute -- an organization dedicated to people clarifying their life purpose and living true to it -- where he is a coach, writer and trainer for other coaches. Hundreds of his articles have appeared in such diverse publications as Modern Maturity, Hope, New Age Journal, Yoga Journal, and many others. He may be contacted by email: brad@lifeonpurpose.com; by phone: 1-800-668-0183; or visit the Life On Purpose Institute website: http://www.lifeonpurpose.com.

© 2001 W. Bradford Swift

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