Imagine you are doing a google search for something you are considering buying. You spend some time surfing between different sites, clicking different ads for the product you have in mind, then you end your search and get on with your work. What happens next? Ads for this product pop up on your screen for weeks! It’s the algorithm of your search engine remembering what you were interested in, and it very kindly brings you more of what you told it you like.

Life is like that.

Our sorting of information creates different realities

We are bombarded and surrounded by an enormous, innumerable amount of information at any moment. We cannot possibly take it all in! The brain has to make some distinction of what it brings into your consciousness. It makes this distinction based on what you focus on. What you focus on obviously is important to you so your brain gives you more of it, just like the algorithm in your computer.

The result is that we all experience a different reality. If I am interested in vintage cars and you are interested in fashion I will see the well-preserved Jaguar that just drove by and you will see the well-dressed couple in it. Multiply that by everything we see and encounter during the day, and by evening we will have experienced very different days!

Our unawareness of the filters affects us

The thing is, we are not really aware of these filters – not the fact that we have them nor that yours are different from mine. We assume that what we perceive is an objective truth. This causes some (or a lot of) issues.

One of them is that we don’t understand how people can’t see it like we do! We think that it is the absolute truth since we saw it with our own eyes, and don’t realise that it is the truth from our point of view.

Another problem is that we are often more clear on what we don’t want than what we want. But our filter will always bring us more of what we focus on! That’s why it is so important to explore and get to know our filters better, so we can adjust them to notice the experiences we want in our lives.

We will never get what we want by concentrating on what we don’t want.

So what are your filters? Are you someone who focuses on the smile of strangers passing by, or the fact that someone tried to cut in front of you? Are you upset that they didn’t have your first choice or grateful that they had your second? Do you focus on the problem or the solution?

Becoming aware of your own filters is a real game changer.

Charlotte Hillenbrand & Karin Ulfhielm