Angry People See Problems Everywhere

Life shapes you, but you, in turn, shape it

Thomas Oppong
4 min readJul 4, 2024

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Photo by Jr. Farren on Unsplash

The world’s a mess,” you say. Crime, conflict, disaster — it all confirms your belief. The world is a scary place, right? But wait! Did you miss the story about what people are doing to change that? Your brain filtered them out, focused on the scary to justify your fear.

“It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” says neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada. “We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.”

The brain is an energy-saving organ.

It’s designed to be efficient at the cost of your best intentions. To make sense of everything, it uses shortcuts and powerful filters to keep us in the same patterns. Until you actively disrupt how things have always been done, your brain cares less about your self-improvement habits.

It’s nothing unusual; it’s part psychology and part neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscientist Ian Fiebelkorn says “filtering is starting at that very first step, before the information even reaches the visual cortex.”

Your brain is wired to find patterns and holds onto evidence confirming what you already think, want or expect to happen. It’s a survival tactic…

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Thomas Oppong

Making the wisdom of great thinkers instantly accessible. As seen on Forbes, Inc. and Business Insider. For my popular essays, go here: https://thomasoppong.com