Today I’m going to talk about the notion of the echo chamber.
Wikipedia defines the echo chamber as ‘a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system and [which] insulates them from rebuttal.‘
In essence, we like to engage in environments which amplify and resonate with what we already think and what we already believe we know. But these environments don’t necessarily lead to new learning and leveling.
The internal echo chamber
The same kind of thing happens internally. In our own minds and head space. So we have our own little echo chambers, if you like, in our own world. Consider the sort of mental chatter that goes on a lot of the time.
For example, I have a belief that I’m the best driver in the world, better than all the other motorists. I see somebody go through a red light. Even though there are no cars coming, they’ve gone through the red light and that’s not right. So I make a judgment about this person.
But you know what? There’s actually a signpost at the light for a hospital. Perhaps that person was trying to get to the hospital in a hurry for a very good reason. Perhaps they checked that there were no cars coming before they went through the red light. How would I know? I can’t. I judged based on what I had going on in my own little thought bubble. My own little echo chamber.
Changing the sound in the echo chamber
Let’s talk, just briefly, about what exists in the echo chamber of our own minds? Most commonly it’s words, phrases and sentiments.
If you’re a negative type of person, or if you hang out with people who like to complain, you’ll find the language is like this:
- How are you today? Oh well, I’ve got a headache
- What! Did I put on two pounds last night?
- Or I thought the news was really bad. People never do the right thing and they’re always complaining about it.
That can pretty boring. And it certainly isn’t very uplifting or empowering.
If we want to empower ourselves, we need to change what’s going on in the echo chamber. It’s pretty basic stuff. Here’s how to fix what’s going on in the echo chamber of complain. We just play with some of the letters. Think of it as a game.
COMPLAIN – (word shuffle illustration)
Let’s start by taking this little i here and putting it at the beginning. Then still got a c already. Now, when it comes to the o, I’m going to take a little piece of the m and add it here to make an a. So now I’ve got a c and a. What do I have left? The rest of the m has become an n, so I can add that. I have I can. And here, where I had plain, the i is gone, so I have plan.
I can either COMPLAIN, or I CAN PLAN.
If I choose to plan, I ask lots of questions.
What am I going to do differently? How am I going to get out of this thing? What am I going to do next? What resources could I find?
This puts me in a whole different mindset.
What word games can you find to change your echo chamber? How does it make you feel?