Understanding the Human Condition

Understanding the Human Condition

If you are to manage people effectively, you need to understand what makes them (and you) tick. Everything we do in life is a consequence of how the brain works. It determines our success or failure, personally as well as professionally. It’s what makes us human. But our hard-working neurons aren’t always functioning to our advantage. Because the brain has a mind of its own – one that’s beyond our command. It protects us, deceives us and glorifies us. It provides us with unrealistic optimism, moral excuse-making, wishful thinking, excitement, anxiety and depression. All of which distorts reality, saves us from the ego-destroying effects of our mistakes and prevents us from seeing the truth about the world and those around us. It can make us smart, logical and open-minded but also vain, immoral, unscrupulous, unreliable and bigoted. Liberating the former and restraining the latter requires an understanding of what constitutes “the human condition.”

This course is about the role biases, beliefs and thinking traps play in our lives – how they complicate it, influence our decisions, drive irrational thinking and get us into trouble. It explains how we deal with uncertainty and emotional turmoil, why we lie (to ourselves and others), how our memories really work, why we believe what we want to be true (even when it’s not), why we don’t change course when we know we should, how we make sense of who we are (as well as others), why we think others are at fault but we’re blameless, how we deal with uncertainty, why we rebel against rules and regulations, are reluctant to change, prefer to live by double standards and, among other fascinating questions, why we’re all so gullible. These glitches in our mental software inevitably lead to bad decisions, dumb behaviours and unintended, even dire, consequences.

Our brains are incredibly efficient, highly emotional and very lazy – the latter is its self-preservation mechanism. Without this ineptitude, we would perish. No one is immune from its deleterious effects and we can’t completely eradicate them. They are, after all, a consequence of our neurobiology. That said, there is a path to overcoming these flaws, maladies and distortions. Provided we’re willing to learn how to recognize them, reconcile them with our ego-enhancing preferences, mitigate and better manage them. This course will give you the antidotes. When you’re able to apply them, you’ll discover how to live a fuller, freer and richer existence – for yourself as well as others.

Topics include:
❏  What exactly is “the human condition”?
❏  Neurology 101: Understanding the hardware
❏  Mind traps: The tricks our brain plays on us
❏  How to overwrite bad habits & thought distortions
❏  Prejudice: In-group and out-group conformity
❏  Why we believe others are at fault & we’re not
❏  When our conduct falls short of our good intentions
❏  Why we lie to ourselves and others all the time
❏  The granddaddy of all our biases: The big lie
❏  Why a healthy brain can be a delusional brain
❏  An abridged dictionary of 40+ cognitive biases
❏  The things we believe that are simply not true
❏  Our top 25 biases: Simplified & explained
❏  How our memory works and why it doesn’t
❏  Habits & beliefs that reduce our effectiveness
❏  Why we ignore warnings & persist with lost causes
❏  Why we think differently when we’re in groups
❏  The antidotes to countering & mitigating our biases
❏  What makes one a great high-performance manager

Includes a 26-page Pre-course Workbook of readings and tasks.