Here are your Lesson 3 Essentials:
- The ladder of inference. We are all working our own ladders of inference, all the time. It’s unavoidable. If left unchecked, this mechanism can work to distort our perception without us even realizing it.
- Where the ladder comes from. Often, the ladder of inference works as a distorting force simply because we are not aware of it. The ladder works to short-circuit reality out of habit and it is fueled by default patterns in how we think about things. In many cases, the effects of the ladder of inference can be amplified by an amygdala response we are having to a perceived threat. The amygdala response is a primitive physical response designed to keep us safe.
- Why would I want to challenge my ladder? The problem with the ladder is it works to keep things exactly as they are. By challenging our habitual responses, we can get better at reality, sifting out distortions and letting go of fear-based interpretations, stories, and beliefs that get in the way of reaching our potential. This is how we expand our ability to grow and play big.
- What is the first step to stop myself from short-circuiting reality? Challenging these habits begins with awareness about how the ladder of inference and the amygdala work to enforce mental patterns and about how the two tend to show up for you. Now that you understand how this meaning-making process works, check out this week’s experiments and Learning Lab for practices and tips to work with these dynamics.