Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is something we may have done, or continue to do, unless of course we understand what it is and choose to correct it.

It happens when the brain makes incredibly quick judgments and assessments of situations and people without us consciously thinking about it. Those biases are influenced by our upbringing, cultural environment and personal experiences. Unfortunately, unconscious bias if left will affect all areas of our life.

We’d like to think we’re completely open-minded about things, but I believe and research now shows that our values and beliefs, which come from culture, our family and experiences, will influence how we view and evaluate other people, ourselves and our lives.

It is true that these assumptions, interpretations, thought patterns and unconscious bias we have built up over time, help us to process information efficiently and quickly, but that’s probably not the point. From a survival point of view of course, it’s positive and in some cases necessary, particularly if we’re dealing with things like abuse.

Unconscious bias in a way protects us and helps us make decisions we wouldn’t come to make, but in business can cost us lost opportunities and is costly, particularly when we fail to see situations objectively. Unconscious bias can hold us back from reaching our true potential, because we’re too quick to form opinions about ourselves negatively.

Assumptions are internal. They come from within us, but before any external changes can be made, those assumptions need to be understood. To change it, we must unlearn our current beliefs and relearn new ones.

Ultimately, we need to be our own advocate and start to create new unlimited thoughts, which allow us to take away our prejudices.


24 Oct, 2015

4 thoughts on “Unconscious bias

  1. We are all bias in some way about some things. It’s just how it is as humans, we’re flawed.

    But if we can start to learn to challenge those biases, we would begin to nurture and develop an understanding that would be so powerful. Maybe the world will be a better place in a few generations time, once we learn these skills.

    1. Thanks, yes I couldn’t agree more. Because I live my life by the universal rules, I automatically overcome this bias, by seeing the bigger picture around people, circumstances and things.

      Like all skills this need honing. Over the years, we accumulate so many biases, but as you say if we were to nurture and develop an understanding around this bias, we would change our relationships for the better.

  2. I would say that 90% of my biases are unconscious and a result of a childhood being subjected to intense brainwashing.

    My mother tried to force her way of thinking on to me and my father was too passive to do much to stop her. This is what I’m talking about when I try to explain to people about the old tapes playing in my head of what I should be thinking and feeling.

    People look at me like I’m out of my mind, when I say that. The only ones who really get it are the ones who have been through it themselves. It’s also very difficult because a lot of them I can’t talk about freely, with people because it would be considered not politically correct.

    I didn’t grow up in a politically correct world, so quite often I don’t understand when people get so offended by what I’m saying. If I’m not paying attention and something slips through, it isn’t that I’m trying to be intentionally offensive.

    It requires a great amount of effort and concentration to deal with people who are usually clueless to what’s really going on around them. I just have to try to remember that I can’t change them, so I have to work on changing myself!

    1. Thanks Randy, yes you’re right, but I would put that percentage higher.

      There are so many of us who either know what’s happened in our past and choose to live in denial about it or know, but will ignore the facts and whilst we do that unconsciously we’re reliving those issues through our conscious mind.

      I know how you feel, having had slightly different tapes playing in my head for many years. I do agree with you though, unless we go through the same experiences, and we don’t, we will never understand what other people have gone through or who continue to go through.

      Before we can change anything, any understanding of what we’ve been through has to come from us.

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