[Articles on Communication][Freeing the Mind - Articles on Personal Development]

Is someone reading your mind?

Can you read minds? Can others read your mind? Have you heard or used expressions like these?

"I know what you are thinking"
"You think I'm wrong, don't you."
"He thinks we don't know what he is planning."
"I see what you are thinking."
"You don't agree with this, do you."

There can be good reasons for these statements, but at face value they appear to indicate mind reading. And between you and I, I can't read minds, and I don't think that people who make these statements can either. In psychology, they are sometimes called projection. That is, we have a thought in our own minds, and think it belongs to someone else. We project our thought on this other person and blame them for thinking it! Sounds like good fun to me, but how do we deal with it?

 

I know what you are thinking.
How do you know what I am thinking?

You think I'm wrong, don't you.
How, specifically do you know that?


He thinks we don't know what he is planning.
How specifically, do you know that?

I see exactly what you are thinking
How specifically, do you know that?

The question, 'How, for example, do you know that?' is specific to mind reading, but is very useful on many other occasions.

Science has proved XYZ
How specifically, do you know that?

This is good for you.
How specifically, do you know that?

Don't forget all the other questions we have learned so far. For example:

Science has proved XYZ
Which science, specifically?
Which scientists, specifically?
How did they prove XYZ?
and,
How specifically, do you know that?

There is a little problem with 'How do you know that?', however. Strictly, if someone knows something, then it is true. So our question is assuming what the person says is true. Very often, a person's mind reading is false. As I said, it is a small problem because people usually take 'know' to be 'belief.' But consider:

You are trying to get out of this.
What, specifically, leads you to that belief?
Or
What, specifically, makes you think that?

And consider the last questions from the first set of examples:

You don't agree with this, do you.
What, specifically, makes you think that?
Or,
What, specifically, leads you to that belief?

When you catch yourself mind reading, or others claim to read your mind or make a statement without giving the reasons or evidence for it, you can use the question, 'How, specifically, do you know that?' On other occasions you might prefer to use variations of:

What, specifically, makes you think that?
Or,
What, specifically, leads you to that belief (conclusion, decision, etc)?

Remember, you will have attained one of the goals of this mini series when you automatically think of the appropriate question when you catch yourself or others violating the Being Specific Model. If you do this, and use it regularly, then you will discover that:

  • Your communications skills will improve
  • You will be more able to deal with awkward situations
  • You will find study easier.

You will learn that unless you learn and apply what you have learned, it will not have a great effect in your life.

Don't forget to give feedback.

Speak soon

Ken Ward

Please visit the New Life Course - Bring your mind back to life!

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Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
Copyright 1998, 1999 Ken Ward,
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