Understanding Your Own Preconceived Ideas of a Topic

Kelly really enjoys learning about environmental issues. They have read many books and watched numerous documentaries on this topic and actively seek out additional information on the environment. While Kelly’s interest can help them understand a new reading encounter about the environment, Kelly also has to be aware that with this interest comes preset ideas and biases about the topic. Sometimes these prejudices against other ideas relate to religion or nationality or even just tradition.

Without evidence, thinking the way we always have is not a good enough reason; evidence can change, and at the very least it needs honest review and assessment to determine its validity. Ironically, we may not want to learn new ideas because that may mean we would have to give up old ideas we have already mastered, which can be a daunting prospect.


Student Studying from textbook.
A student working on homework by Jacob Lund Photography from NounProject.com

With every reading situation about the environment, Kelly needs to remain open-minded about what they are about to read and pay careful attention if they begin to ignore certain parts of the text because of their preconceived notions. Learning new information can be very difficult if you balk at ideas that are different from what you’ve always thought. You may have to force yourself to listen to a different viewpoint multiple times to make sure you are not closing your mind to a viable solution your mindset does not currently allow.


Take a moment to reflect on your day so far with a focus on the small tasks you have already accomplished. You accomplished getting out of bed, right? Tell yourself, “Good Job!” Think about all of the small (or large) tasks you’ve already completed today. Perhaps you would benefit from writing those tasks down. In some way, acknowledge your ability to do those things.



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