“Don’t tell yourself anything more than what the initial impressions report. It’s been reported to you that someone is speaking badly about you. This is the report – the report wasn’t that you’ve been harmed. I see that my son is sick – but not that his life is at risk. So always stay within your first impressions, and don’t add to them in your head – this way nothing can happen to you.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

 

Always on the lookout for information that might give us early warning of present danger, our brain is very quick at filling in the gaps where information is missing. Erring on the side of caution for survival reasons, we can conjure up examples of negative consequences that alert us and prompt us to take appropriate action.

 

How accurate is that information, and how much time would it take to double-check those first impressions? In moments of likely emergency, it is prudent to respond as quickly as possible, whether the initial impression turns out not to be accurate. Don’t allow these ‘thinking errors’ of blowing things out of proportion and jumping to conclusions reduce the quality of your life and of those you care about.

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