Filters are nature’s way of preventing our brains from overloading with information that we receive from our sensors. One of three general filters is the deletion process. We delete information that the subconscious deems not important. The subconscious knows what is important because we consciously focus on the important information. We do not delete all things but delete enough to keep the information to the minimal like photographs. What you focus on is clear, but the rest is a blur. If you were at a park looking into the eyes of your significant other, you would probably have deleted all the trees, the dogs, the people walking past, and even your wet bottom from grass dues. But, “wait a minute” you say “I do see them”. Of cause you do! Because I made you focus on these things and people. Right now while you are reading this, you are deleting the information that your sensors are telling the subconscious that there is pulsing of blood in your left ankle. And once again focus is changed and you are very well aware of the pulsing.
Second and third filters are distortion and generalization. The human brain has the awesome power of pattern recognition. This means we can recognize objects like TVs, computers, cars, woman, man, child, etc. Although these objects are not exactly the same we recognize the patterns that distinguish what makes a TV a TV and our brain wants to recognize all and any images, sounds and touches. If we see something that looks like something your subconscious tries to decipher the pattern of the object and compares it to its repository of memorized patterns. Have you ever jumped up ten feet because you saw a snake, but when you looked back it was just a coil of rope. This is called distortion, and we do it every day of our lives. A common example is to hear someone say something but distort it and hear something else altogether. It happens all the time. Part of distortion is because we generalize most things. The patterns that we look for are generalized to our unique experiences and memories. A person who hates snakes sees, hears, and have a unique feelings towards snakes and these are some of the variables that make up a pattern. As soon as a pattern is recognized these variables also come up and gives you the image, sound, and the unique feeling towards the identified pattern. By generalizing we only identify past patterns and we either distort or delete the actual information. It’s like a woman who says “men are all thick in the head”. This is a generalization because she could not have known all men died or living, and because of one memory of a man she knew, which could be significant, gave her a bad experience she now generalizes all men are thick headed.
Knowing we all have filters that delete, distort and generalize, we can be aware of these filters in our communications. Knowing the other’s focus, what they delete, distort and generalize, we can influence what to focus, what to delete and not delete, distort or not distort, or generalize or not to generalize. Motivation management is how one can direct focus to the things that needs to be focused upon.