The Halo Effect
When I'm not reading, I am listening to podcasts. The most recent one I listened to was about "the halo effect" and how it has the tendency to skew our opinions.
The halo effect is used in psychology to explain how cognitively biased we can be when faced with impressions in life.
A single positive or negative trait in a person or company can influence our judgment, thinking that this trait exists in all areas of that person's life or the workings of a company.
We believe the attractive person we know must also be bestowed with good health, intelligence and relationships. While statistics do show that attractive people have higher incomes and are more likely to be in positions of power, what about the person who cut you off when you were driving recently? Or the person who wasn't wearing a face mask when you entered a crowded shop? Are they bad people? Are they terrible in all areas of their life? Why are we so quick to believe and change our entire belief system from one single behaviour?
This happens in companies and education systems too. A company that is performing well must mean that all strategies within the business are good. Whereas, a bad company is one that makes no profits or files for bankruptcy. Does this apply to the small business that closed during the pandemic?
Education systems are also on this pattern. They are deemed "good" if they achieve a high level of students making A grades and "bad" if students are not. What of their mental health?
Multibillion-dollar water companies spout about how much they are doing to save our environment however as one post I saw recently said "Water companies only make plastic bottles."
It can be good to pause and reflect on the human condition.
No other species on the planet has a mind as complicated yet the capacity to be as intelligent as ours.
Ayurveda and Yoga recognise that the human mind is unique - we have a moral and reasoning part that distinguishes us from animals.
How do we understand our minds? and how can we overcome all the fears and anxieties that we seem to pick up as our life progresses?
Spiritual practices talk about keeping company that is good for a person's growth.
A community. A place where you can connect and share ideas and thoughts on your own spirituality and discuss questions along the way.
It is a sacred space allowing us to learn from one another.
Understanding our mind with an open heart.
The clouds move and may even tremble as we witness our mind for what it is - always changing, different thoughts and perceptions that we have developed, attained, and maybe nurtured through our upbringing and environment.
We do not have to identify with what comes up.
We only have to observe and watch.
Realise that we are just as perfect today as the day we first entered into this world, cradled in the arms of our parents.