They did this study once. They had a young woman try to cut in line in a copy machine. She first asked if she could cut in line. A large percentage of the time, people said “no.”
Then she tried to cut in line and gave a reason. She said “I need to cut in line because my car is in a tow away zone and I don’t have much time.” And guess what? Most people let her cut in line.
Then they tried something really good. She said, “I need to cut in line because I have some copies to make.”
And guess what? They still let her cut in line most of the time.
Because she used the magic word “because.”
It seems our brains are hard wired to see cause-effect relationships. And when something is presented to us in a cause-effect relationship, it’s VERY hard to disagree with.
They think it’s because long ago Mother Nature decided it was a lot quicker making these connections (cause-effect), even if they were sometimes incorrect, than have to figure things out every single time.
This also translates into “meaning.” If A causes B, then A also MEANS B in our monkey brains.
A tiger MEANS we’re about to get eaten.
Now, if you actually did a study where you wandered around the jungle, chances are that every time you saw a tiger, you wouldn’t get eaten.
But if you DON’T assume danger EVERY SINGLE TIME, all you need to do is get eaten once to NOT pass on those “figure it out every time” genes.
Consequently, we generally see two things happening together, and ASSUME it’s some kind of iron-clad, unbreakable law of the universe.
Like maybe once you applied for a bunch of jobs, and didn’t get hired. So you came to the conclusion that “getting a job is difficult.”
Or maybe you tried to talk to a pretty girl and she laughed, so you came to the conclusion that “every single pretty girl in the world will laugh at me.”
Or maybe when you were a kid watching cartoons you could hear your parents in the background arguing about money. So you came up with the idea that “money causes problems.”
Of course, NONE of these are true. Many people believe talking to pretty girls is fun and natural. Many people believe making money is easy and exciting. Many people believe that getting any job is as easy as ordering a pizza.
What do YOU want to believe?