We're all on the journey.
October 27, 2022
Socially Engineering Insecurity: Sowing the Seeds of Self-Doubt

Knowledge. It’s one of the only resources that grows as we share it. Yet sometimes, that’s not so easy. Why do we sometimes find it so difficult to share our knowledge? And furthermore - why does at times it seem so challengi...


It’s one of the only resources that grows as we share it. Yet sometimes, that’s not so easy. Why do we sometimes find it so difficult to share our knowledge?

And furthermore - why does at times it seem so challenging to accept the valid input and constructive criticism of others?

Since ancient times, when the words “know thyself” were inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, sages and philosophers have hailed the importance of self-knowledge. Modern research, however, has called its value into question. For instance, research on self-delusion has found that holding unrealistically positive views of oneself and one's future prospects can promote emotional, and even physical well-being.

In today's discussion, we explore how different levels of consciousness, such as seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, can also sow seeds of self-doubt.


In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How our social interactions often subversively influence our day-to-day relationships in a way that frequently becomes self-deprecating and how this holds an adverse influence on both our self-concepts and those of others.

2. How comparing yourself to others can cause a downward spiral of negative thinking.

3. How our sense of self-worth and confidence are so deeply influential or influenced by our social interactions and leading us to move into fluctuating states of self-doubt at times.


Featured Guests:

Shabnam Curtis

Jaemin Frazer


------ Resources:

Unconscious or Subconscious?



What Are the Different Types of Paradox?



Strangers to Ourselves



Blind spots in the search for happiness: Implicit attitudes and nonverbal leakage predict affective forecasting errors



Affect Heuristics: Why do we rely on our current emotions when making quick decisions?



Sidestepping the pitfalls of overconfidence with plausible deniability



The Psychology Behind Belittling Others(A Complete Guide)







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SUBSCRIBE: pod.link/thelightinside


Credits: Music Score by Epidemic Sound

Vivid Space by Locus Clouds

Within The Bubble by Jon Bjork

The Orchard by Jakob Ahlbom

Universal Solution by Robert Ruth


Executive Producer: Jeffrey Besecker

Mixing, Engineering, Production, and Mastering: Aloft Media Studio

Production Manager: Anna Getz

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This is the light inside. I'm Jeffrey Bsecker knowledge it's one of the only resources that grows as we share it. Yet sometimes that's not so easy. Why do we sometimes find it so difficult to share our knowledge? Furthermore, why at times does it seem so challenging to accept the valid input and constructive criticism of others?

Since ancient times, when the words know thyself were inscribed at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, sages and philosophers had hailed the importance of selfknowledge. Modern research, however, has called its value into question. For instance, research on selfdelusion has found that holding unrealistically positive views of oneself and one's future prospects can promote emotional and even physical wellbeing. In today's discussion, we explore how different levels of consciousness, such as seeing the world through rose collar glasses, can also sow the seeds of self doubt. Tune in to find out how, when we return to the light Inside.

A fine line exists between confidence and arrogance, and many in positions of power, such as politicians and CEOs, are often labeled arrogant. Although confidence can serve both as a blessing and a curse, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows how people can reap the rewards without risking the social penalties of overconfidence. As we're left in wonder, is overconfidence often a social liability? The effect of verbal versus nonverbal expressions of confidence is forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology from Nathan Mitchell, the paper illustrating postdoctoral research and teaching associated at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. It reveals an accountability loophole, a way for people to enhance their status without risking punishment for overconfidence.

It shows that expressing confidence nonverbally through making eye contact, gesturing, adopting an expansive posture, or speaking in a strong voice allows people to enjoy the social benefits of expressing confidence, simultaneously reducing the risk they'll be punished for overconfidence. It is thus viewing the self through mildly rosetended glasses may be beneficial in some circumstances, but our psychological blind spots may be doing us more harm than good when side stepping the pitfalls of overconfidence, recognizing when we engage plausible deniability allows us to shine a light on our more surreptitious blind spots. In the pursuit of happiness, one particularly problematic obstruction may lie in our implicit attitudes, motives and selfviews associations that resist conscious access or control. That is, our inability to access nonconscious knowledge may undermine our ability to select courses of action that will make us happy. It's interesting to learn how comparing yourself to others can cause a downward spiral of negative thinking.

Mikhail Pulani was a Hungarian British polymath who made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics and philosophy. He recognized that knowledge is not knowledge itself. Now stay with me on this, dividing it into Socalled explicit knowledge and implicit or tactic knowledge. Explicit knowledge is clearly communicated by means of science, which is spoken in written language. This explicit knowledge can be coded that is, it's translated into science and then stored, processed and transmitted through any media.

Implicit knowledge, on the other hand, is based on our personal experiences, memories and convictions illustrated as practical skills. It's very difficult for us to convey this knowledge verbally. Yes, sometimes we ourselves are not even aware of this knowledge. We know more than we know how to say, says Mikhail Pelani. He argued that positivism supplies an imperfect account of knowing as no observer is perfectly impartial.

Paul Lonnie's paradigm is the theory that human knowledge of how the world functions and of our own capacity are to a large extent beyond our explicit understanding. When investigating implicit knowledge and effective forecasting one can reason that although conscious evaluations are available to people when predicting their future emotional responses nonconscious evaluations are not serving as an example, a grandmother can write down a favorite cake recipe for her grandchildren. This document the explicit knowledge. And yet a cake she herself bakes will probably and apparently inexplicably taste better because she consciously and unconsciously calls up implicit knowledge during the act of baking. The reasoning in short, we often don't know what we don't know and as a result we unconsciously become insecure.

It happens to the best of us as human beings as we strive to be our best. And when we stumble into this state we unwittingly project a state of insecurity upon others. Born and raised in Tehran experiencing the Iranian revolution of Shabnam curtis knows firsthand the struggles of uncertain challenges. Through strife and political turmoil, her family survived this Persian paradise ultimately immigrating to the United States. Now, as a certified Integral Coach she believes there is a piece of the truth of this life in every human story Shabnam extols the more we know ourselves, the deeper connection we build.

Shabnam today I hope to explore how our social interactions often subversively influence our DayToday relationships in a way that frequently becomes self deprecating and how this holds an adverse influence on both our self concepts and those of others. I want to frame it that way selfdeprecating because I feel so often maybe at times perhaps our inclination is to point that lens outward. Hopefully, as we do point that lens outward we first consider ourselves.

So when social influence is historically contextualized it becomes clear that there are many factors which contribute to creating an environment which, when viewed might signal some sort of social engineering which becomes selfdoubt in both ourselves and others. Theoretically, that is perhaps an immense assumption. How then do we reverse engineer this? So we build mutual confidence together rather than tearing each other down. You just beautifully said it.

I love the way that you framed it. And I think as human and Homo sapiens we are in this journey of just having all the theories and then working on them and to have new theories and obsolete theories. So it's always like having your theory for us is crucial and I just can't see that what you just framed as this theory has a lot of points and data points that is very validated. Especially, I don't want to say only in the western culture, but all across the globe. What I see in this is like let me start with this.

A little bit of self doubt, like any other unpleasant emotion, is healthy because it's giving us a message. A message that as far as self doubt, we could say, well, it's motivating me or it's humbling me, but there is a threshold. When self doubt passes that threshold, it becomes distressing, it becomes destructive in us and in others. You know, when we say when you don't love yourself, you cannot love other people. And a lot of people like, what do you mean?

No, I love a lot of people, but we don't realize that it's a condition of love. We love some part of other people and we love some part of ourselves if we do. And self doubt is very similar and very interconnected with this. If we don't see, I usually think that self believe and self worth is complementary with self doubt. The more self believe we have, the less self doubt or the healthier self doubt we carry.

So as we view these interactions, as we seek to connect with each other, how do you feel? Our sense of self worth and confidence are so deeply influential or influenced by our social interactions and leading us to move into fluctuating states of self doubt at times? I love that question. There are so many factors playing in this game, right? Well, let's just start with that.

We all have the culture pressure you have to accomplish and if you don't accomplish, you are not worthy. That's the way that we've learned or we are taught by the culture. But the truth to it is, well, I want to actualize my potential, I want to learn more, I want to accomplish. But that doesn't define my worth. That's where the gap is that we think our worth, we believe that our worth is exactly directly correlated with what we accomplish.

That's one of the factors that the society tells us. The whole concept of a status in the society, that the superior inferior in the society, that's another factor that brings self doubt. So this person is having a better job making more money, so that's superior to me or I'm superior to other people. And even if those people who feel superior to other people, they still carry a lot of self doubts because they are not seeing their own self worth. Their work is calculated by their accomplishments, not because of their whole being.

And what's another factor that plays a direct role in this is the whole culture of consumerism advertisement. And I'm not saying that materialism or advertisements are bad, but it's gotten out of control. It has taken over our lives to some extent, luxury life, to some extent having a cozy life, of course, for everybody. It's something that we want to achieve as human beings, but it's taken over our life and it's defining our life. And then we all come to this world with some intergenerational traumas that we are not even aware of.

We don't even know what happened to our great grandmother, great grandfather or ancestors that we carry it in this body right here. Or what about childhood problems and challenges? Those also bring a lot of roles in this. Creating the self doubt that I'm not. Good enough, that's so powerful to me.

Questioning our self worth can at times be rooted or the root of self doubt. Yet questioning ourselves can also empower us, matter of perspective. There exactly. Where then sometimes might we underserve ourselves by simply blocking one perspective, by not allowing for that optimum view of who and what we are, who and what we have been and what we may become in the future? What role do you feel social comparison plays in that regard in our selfconcept as we engage our community, cultures, social media, and the likes of marketing platforms?

As you mentioned.

If I want to look at behind the scene of marketing and social media. Especially in younger generation. Let's say. Like Jenzie or even millennials. The rise of depression.

The rise of. Sadly. Suicide in teenagers. The rise of the sale of drug. Basically like all these SSRI family drugs.

Antidepressant. Antianxiety. These are all those signs for us that social media or marketing has gone out of control. And again, I'm not saying these are bad tools because they can be very helpful. Social media has been very helpful in so many different ways to bring people together, to help people in the middle of the revolution in so many different countries.

I remember I was talking to someone, just a personal example, that she was traveling, and she was posting all these beautiful pictures of Denver and her having a beautiful time with her boyfriend in Denver. And then when I talked to her after the trip, she was like, oh, I'm actually breaking up. It was a miserable trip. And I was like, So what about those pictures? We don't post all those miserable times.

We just post pictures. And we only show the moments that they look shiny or they are shiny, but it's not the whole picture of our life. But then it creates that conception in other people or assumption that like, oh, I'm the miserable one. Everybody else is having fun, but that's not the reality of our world. This whole comparison, this whole self doubt is created by that.

It has to be the appearance of me. And then it disconnects us from what we actually are, what potential we have, and how we can actually unfold it. To me, that speaks to that subversive nature where so often we're stuffing down those emotions, emotional repression, suppression cycles. Exactly. And then what happens when we suppress all that emotion, it comes out in a different way because it's so important that well, a lot of people are blaming Dickhart because he was the one who said I think, therefore I am.

And ever since we were just living in our heads. So we disconnected ourselves from our body. But nowadays there are so many researchers, studies that no, your body is actually very intelligent and it keeps all that trauma, all the suppressed emotion in it. The book, the very famous research that Dr. Estelle Vanderkolch has, the Body keeps the score.

It's just amazing. It shows how we have suppressed all those unpleasant emotions or even pleasant. We don't sometimes even feel that like we are not allowed to express our joy or even tears of happiness because it's not cool. Because it doesn't show us as a strong definition of being strong. Being resilient needs to be a lot of variation and new additions because we think being as strong as just being a stoic.

Being a stoic is part of being strong, but it's not the whole thing. And if you're not stoic, then we have self doubts that I can't do it, I don't have enough to do it, I'm not even worthy of doing it. But it's all because we are using all those energy from those suppressed emotions in our body and we haven't released them so often. We're living within the confines of that bubble, that bubble. And sometimes there's multiple bubbles, a bubble around our head, about bubble around our heart.

We're bubbling all over the place, yet we're not bubbling over into others. Exactly. Sometimes we have to simply pop that bubble in face adverse and beneficial results. Yeah. To get out of our comfort zone.

To see the reality of ourselves and other people. To see that being imperfect is perfect. To accept our imperfection. Because you're part of this nature, this beautiful nature, this beautiful earth, this beautiful cosmos. It's not perfect, but the imperfection of it is perfect.

And it's working amazingly. I like looking at that idea of comfort zone. So often we form our own bubble around that zone. That comfort can bubble over into other areas. We don't have to discount the notion of comfort.

We can potentially be comfortable with change. We can potentially be comfortable with emotions that cause pain. Past, present, future, whatever scenario we frame it in. Where is that zone? And are we inserting ourselves into a zone of genius?

A zone where we are familiar, a zone of knowing, a zone of command? Are we also comfortable with moving into that somewhat insecure zone of unfamiliarity and then being comfortable with it? So often I feel that is the difference between the gap in the gang of having to either feel comfortable or uncomfortable rather than looking at the gain. How we perceive our state of being becomes the gap. Exactly right.

And then the way I look at it, it's a cycle of change. And changing our old habits because let's face it, when we were little ones to survive, that self doubt could be helpful because if I didn't have the self doubt then I had to doubt my parents or my caregivers and I couldn't do that possibly as a child. So the self doubt back then was a survival mechanism to let me grow and let me just stay in the society and feel the belonging. It was much easier to say, oh, I'm the defected one. My parents are great because my life was dependent on them.

Even though no childhood is perfect, no caregiver is perfect, right? Yes. But we stayed with that habit as adults. It's why do we stay with that habit? Because the neurons, the neuron paths, that's how they are formed.

So it's our comfort zone that it's easier to feel the selfdoubt. In so many cases, it's easier to justify ourselves with the selfdoubt rather than just pushing ourselves out of this comfort zone. And it's the most not feeling yourself work and having the self doubt pattern is the most common pattern that I've seen so many of my clients that we just don't have that grip that like, I can change it and we don't even have a picture of how we want to change it. What would be the replacement? We prefer to stay in that comfort zone rather than having a replacement image that this is where I want to go and these are the steps to take towards that.

I can't jump so often. Do we perhaps look at that with that we shall overcome attitude or mindset? Do we shift that sometimes and say we shall also work along with where do we create our own resistance in life? Sometimes that resistance is beneficial if we want to frame it within exercising the muscle frame. Sometimes the resistance is beneficial, yet sometimes too much overload tears us down and we fail to bounce back.

Finding that role of fluctuation where we can look at it from different angles, different perspectives and find the optimum state optimum in and of itself. When we go to the Greek root of the word is light. What lights us up inside to allow us to share that joint meaning and opt the optimum what is best and contributes to our growth? I love how you said it because the way that I see it is you said it that the resistance is sometimes because of too much in our life. We are just trying to juggle so many balls and we think everything has a priority.

I have to make everybody happy and I have to get everything done and I have to accomplish, accomplish, accomplish. And when it's too much, of course the self doubt comes in. They're like, oh, I can't do it. But we don't see that. It's not that I can't do it, it's too much.

But the light comes in when I see myself as not anymore being in survival mode, but in the growth mode. That's why I'm here as a human. That's why I have my prefrontal lobe. That's why I'm not superior to other creatures, but I'm different than other creatures because we can stay in our survival mode forever. We can come in and go and never feel that we could grow.

But in a way, it's our society's responsibility to teach people, even in high school, even in college, that now you are at the age that you have to have that growth mindset because you have so much potential, but use it and choose it in a way that it suits you, because every one of us is different. It's not just our fingerprint. Our heartbeat is unique to us. Our nerve system is unique to us. You and I might have the same pattern of the nerve system, but it cannot be exactly the same.

So I have to find my own path of growth mindset, but someone has to come and say, this is the point. You have to lock in that path. Now. You survived. Okay?

Survival is a good thing. It's part of our instinct. We want to survive as a species, as part of the evolution. But as human beings, we have this opportunity to also grow. So often, as you mentioned, we're walking that path.

Where might we recognize when we step into the shoes of superiority? When then might we step either in someone else's path or step on their path? Where also might we realize where we surrender some of that notion? Where do we allow somebody to simply rise to the occasion and be superior in their optimum state? Where do we lean into that?

Where do we rely upon that to become that guiding force? For a long time, I could say that we have to watch in other people's shoes, but to be honest with you, I didn't know what it meant. And then eventually I was like, oh, to be able to walk in another person's shoes requires that I know how I work in my own shoes. Because if I don't recognize that, I'm allowed to be upset, I'm allowed to love, I'm allowed to feel like in a protesting mode or I don't know my own rights, and I don't know how I'm reacting versus responding to my own environmental figures. How can I understand another person, yet a different type of person?

Because we are all different. So when I started learning that, oh, okay, this is how being more mindful about how I feel and how I'm I reacting versus I'm responding and how awareness is playing in this game for me, that's when I understood that. You know, when I say simple example, when I say I love not parsley the other one. Cilantro. Cilantro.

I love cilantro, and my husband hates it. And then we found an article that there are 9% of people in the world that their taste spots turn cilantro to a chemical taste. Yes, we are different. I can't just say, don't like cilantro. I love it, but no, I can love it.

And you cannot step in those shoes. As a chef, that's something I experienced myself somewhat coming in and saying, well, this is what you hope to achieve, but you also have to open that door for somebody else to step in. Yeah. Another thing I always tell my clients, I'm like, please feel free to avoid your sessions, but tell me, and I'm okay with it because I don't take it personally, because it might not be coaching, might not be the thing for you now, or you might not be ready. But I don't take it that this person hated me or I didn't do a good job.

And another thing is, you might connect to another coach better. Because we are all different. Because maybe the way that I speak can trigger someone in the wrong way. We don't know. You know, like, I was talking to someone and she was saying, when I talk to this woman, I just lose my confidence.

And then I was like, would it be possible that her face or her tone of voice might remind you of some back experience? She was like, maybe these are all those hidden little things that we don't bring to the equation that it's okay that I'm myself, and it's okay that I don't like this, and it doesn't mean that this person is bad. That's a little bit of a curve where my mind was traveling today, and I'm grateful for that because it does bring in another perspective what things in that trigger might be well beyond the actual person, the actual experience, the actual circumstance, situation or structure of events. Yeah, exactly. Where does the root of that often lie?

Based on what I've been learning, and now including my personal experience and experience with clients, it's based on our perception because Lisa Barrett, she's a researcher, she has this brilliant book, How Our Emotions Are Made, and she explains that our reality is not I'm paraphrasing, of course, but it says our reality is not like a digital photograph of the world. It's not even an exact painting of the world like what Vermier did. It's actually like impression is like Van Gogh. Our reality is not very clear, and it's all based on my perception from the past. That's how my brain calculates all the time.

So one thing is, if I had a lot of bad experience from the past, I can be scared of so many things that are not scary in reality, and I can feel unsafe for a lot of things that are not actually unsafe. But the good part of it is I can create new experience to modify my perception and teach my brain in a different way. I love looking at that idea of fuzzy logic, is how it plays out for me. Fuzzy logic are we allow things to somewhat be unfocused, to simply allow for a perspective? Are we allowed to kind of allow those lines to blur that we're not so stated in what we believe to be the truth?

Right? And each one of us has a piece of the truth. None of us has the whole truth. And that's where collaboration comes in. That's where teamwork comes in.

Because we can have the like, you put different pieces of the truth to get it. But at the same time, that piece of truth that I have, how blurry it is, how much perspective can I bring into it to make it more clear, to bring more clarity to it? Can I be curious rather than judgmental? Like, even if we want to talk about self doubt, if I jump to the conclusion that I can't do it, I know I can't do it, I'm not worthy of doing it, I'm not worthy of having it. Instead of jumping to this conclusion, can I practice to be more curious?

Maybe I am. What else can I bring to this equation to make it look different? There are different variables in this that I'm not even looking at it. That is so beautifully well said and so brilliant in this contextualization.

Thank you. I just recently found myself in this space where I'm saying, how do you start to question some of those walls and boundaries you build for yourself? I recently signed up for a course through the University of Edinburgh called Know Thyself that explores some of those very things, those unconscious patterns of belief you create within yourself because nobody else is doing it for you. Right. So I challenged myself.

I rose to that opportunity to say, where might I open that door to kind of look at some of that fuzzy logic? Where am I blurring up my own lens of view? Exactly. Yeah. All these biases that now we are talking about self deception, right?

We do it. We do it all the time.

It's so cute because my mother is a curious person, but at the same time, she comes every day with, like, a new health information that, oh, this is really good for you. And I'm like, Where did you see it? And she's like, well, this doctor was talking about it in Instagram. I'm like, well, that's not enough. What is the data behind it?

How are you sure that this doctor is actually talking based on some factual science? Or even factual science is changing every day, so it's kind of like not written in stone. And now she practiced this. I mean, she made this tea with the top part of the corn. She drank it and she felt horrible.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we believe in anything that social media says? Because it's like just either not having a reliable resource or it's just part of a bigger picture that we don't know what the bigger picture is. But people just make them feel like it's easier to believe it and to go with it. Because of the bubble, he said, because they are just in their own bubble and a lot of people are like, well, we didn't know.

We haven't seen that. How many people do you know? How far do you go in the network around you? Is it just your neighborhood, your family, your town? Or are you actually seeing some people in India and China and Malaysia and North Dakota, Florida too?

You know.

The effect heuristic describes how we often rely on our emotions rather than concrete information when making decisions. This allows us to reach a conclusion quickly and easily, but can also distort our thinking and lead us to make suboptimal choices. Most of us live and work in environments that aren't optimized for solid decision making, and within our relationships and organizations we are able to identify sources of cognitive bias of all kinds. Several months ago, your friend Allen received an invitation to audition for a play that was being presented by a Wellknown theater company. Allen has always been passionate about acting and this would be a big opportunity for him.

However, the day they received the invitation was the same day they got back their grade on a very important examination. Unfortunately, Alan failed the test and was naturally very upset about it. Not only were they angry and upset, but their self esteem took a serious hit and as a result, they impulsively told the theatre company that they were not interested in auditioning for the play. Allen's negative emotions, after failing a test led them to overrate the risks of auditioning for the play. They felt that there was a good chance that they would fail at that as well.

An action that is illogical as Alex performance on the test is completely independent of their acting ability. As a result, they are missing out on what could have been a great experience. This scenario exemplifies the effect heuristic as it demonstrates how we sometimes rely on our emotions instead of logic when making decisions. The conflict between desire to be accurate and the need to feel good about ourselves is one of the major battlegrounds of the self. Many times the difference between the gap in our thinking and the gain in our growth comes down to blind spots.

How then do we begin to remove these blind spots so that we can not only see ourselves more clearly, we also clear the lens in how we view others. Know thyself a precept as old as Socrates still applies today. But is introspection the best path to self knowledge? It is common for people not to have accurate access to their inner selves. Just how then might they increase the sense of selfawareness?

Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings and motives that introspection may never show us, revealing to us an unconscious more powerful than Freud's. An even more pervasive in our daily life. Timothy Wilson's book Strangers to Ourselves marks a revolution in how we come to know ourselves. You see, if we don't know ourselves, our potentials feelings or motivations, it is most often, Wilson tells us, because we have developed a plausible story about ourselves that is out of touch with our adaptive unconscious.

Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering our unconscious selves. If you want to know who you are and what you feel or what you're like, Wilson advises you to pay attention to what you actually do and what other people think and feel about you. Going on to suggest that we access this awareness while investigating implicit knowledge and effective forecasting, reasoning that although conscious evaluations are available to people when predicting their future emotional responses, unconscious evaluations are not. As you can see in this observation, the science is clear humans take mental shortcuts. Just why and how we do this, and how you avoid it, or perhaps a little more cloudy ability, information overload, implicit memories, and speed of access all contribute to our diminishing ability to effectively process our cognitive interactions.

An integrated framework is proposed to synthesize longstanding research on eight seemingly unrelated cognitive decisionmaking biases. In the past six decades, hundreds of empirical studies have yielded a number of rules of thumb that describe how humans deviate systematically from normative expectations. In order to explain these cognitive biases, a number of complementary mechanisms have been proposed. Here it is suggested at least eight of these empirically detected decisionmaking biases can be produced by simply assuming noisy deviations in the memorybased information processes that convert objective evidence or observations into subjective estimations or decisions. This integrated framework is presented to show how similar noisebased mechanisms can lead to conservatism basin likelihood bias.

Illusory corelations biased self. Other placement. Sub addictivity. Exaggerated expectation. The confidence bias.

And the hard. Easy effect within our noisy brains. Certain regions are always grinding away in involuntary activities like daydreaming. Worrying about the future and self chatter taking up to as much as 47% of our waking time constituting what we've come to know as mind wandering. And while it can tug your attention away from the present and contribute to anxiety and depression, cognitive neuroscientist Moshe Barr seeks to tell you about the method behind this apparent madness.

So says Professor Barr, head of the Cognitive Neuroscience lab at Bar Elon University and author of Mind Wandering, is exploring how the state of mental chatter can improve our mood and increase our creativity, even going on to say how our mental chatter is essential in developing our sense of self better, relating to others, and making associations to help you understand the world around you. However, these automatically activated evaluations contribute to in the moment emotional experiences, and thus they account for misfortunes, resulting in discrepancies between effective forecasts and actual experiences. It's easy to see the human mind is often referred to as a single entity when the reality is that it consists of multiple processes working together. While our system of thinking involves various mental feedback loops. The mind is a highly developed system that can accomplish many things at the same time.

Yet it is possible to perform both conscious and nonconscious behavior at the same time. Researchers have discovered a great deal outside of the conscious thoughts of the people they studied. The brain works most effectively when it is delegating much of its high level mental processing to the unconscious. William Hamilton noted that the human mind can attend to one thing nonconsciously while performing another behavior consciously such as drifting to another train of thought while reading a lot. Since much of what we know about ourselves resides outside of conscious awareness, a person's behavior and personality are greatly influenced by the nonconscious mind.

The nonconscious mind often has more influence on our behavior than our conscious mind and the two minds often battling in conflict and energetic resistance making it difficult to accurately align our desires and our actions. You see, nonconscious adaptive minds are excellent at assessing the world, assisting us in setting goals, initiating action and warning us to danger. They are also quite adept at stimulating the rise of anxiety, fear and selfdoubt all forming the core behavioral patterns that constitute insecurity. Just how do we more effectively navigate our experiences when insecurity and selfdoubt tend to arise? We turn our focus to author TEDx speaker and confidence coach Jamon Frazier of the Insecurity Project.

Jamie specializes in helping entrepreneurs, leaders and business owners eradicate insecurity so they can show up to life unhindered by doubt, fear and selflifeing beliefs. He is widely recognized as one of Australia's best life coaches and a leading voice globally. On the subject of personal insecurity, Jamie, you frequently share how, without a doubt the number one performance inhibitor in life and business for those beyond the age of 35 is personal insecurity. Going on to say that insecurity is natural, useful and removable when necessary. Can you describe for our listeners how insecurity might be experienced for each of us?

I think insecurity is insidious. It's very subtle. People are insecure about being insecure so it's a difficult thing to pin down. I think the human condition is that we're desperate to feel like we are a good person but we're actually afraid that if all were laid bare would be found out as somehow lacking or somehow inadequate or somehow bad. So I think it's that underlying assumption that we can't ever fully relax and be ourselves.

We've got to show up guarded and defensive so that no one knows the real us because we feel at our core that the real us has some flaws. And so I think that insecurity, that fear of I'm not quite good enough, I don't quite belong, I'm not smart enough, strong enough, attractive enough there is some lack and limit in me. I think that is at the heart of insecurity, and it shows up in all kinds of interesting ways to divert attention away from that fear ever being realized. I'm sure we'll explore those in our conversation and it's hard that that fear of being found out is somehow lacking. Is the core of insecurity.

As you know, our intention today is to explore the role insecurity and uncertainty where a lack of confidence plays in why socially we often engage in what we deem uncomfortable humor, specifically, why humor is sometimes perhaps weaponized as it surfaces in the form of social rejection or ostracism. I'd like to look at what it means to belittle and what our intentions, motives or desires serve to inappropriate behavior. Where people adopt condescending attitudes, it's a lot. But putting others down maybe, and feeling as if they might be less, let's look at how that starts to source. Do others make us feel lesser as we're insecure?

Or is that some of our own action, perhaps? What are some of the underlying reasons why someone potentially feels inclined to act upon their insecurity? Such a fascinating topic and a really important one. I think it's great your work in highlighting this because you can't change what you can't see. So I think to answer that question, I really love the six core needs model.

I think it's some of Anthony Robin's finest contribution to the personal development space and it helps separate behavior from intention. So I think at the heart of belittling or uncomfortable humor, it does come back to this need for significance, sometimes certainty and sometimes also love and connection. But significance to me is the core of it. If you think about being a child, you have your consciousness turned on, but also loosely aware of the fact that these needs are actually having to be met and you don't have the capacity to meet them internally. So you're going to need uncertainty, variety, significance, love.

You're going to need to source those externally, and you'll do whatever you can to fill your cup. And so one of the strategies that's developed from a very young age is through comparison. It's like, well, I'll know that I'm good. If I can find a reference point, I'll find that I'm better than I know that I'm safe because I'm not the weakest link. And so any strategy to elevate myself above my peers, above those around me, helps me feel safe, helps me feel secure, and helps me feel like I must be a good person because I'm better than you.

So anything that can cause you to stand above and if you've got to put someone down in order to do that, well, then by reference you're, you are better then. So I think that need for significance drives that in a really ugly way. But I think that at its core is what's going on there. I find it really pertinent that you mentioned that very state of uncertainty. I looked into finding some of those textbook definitions of insecurity.

A feeling of inadequacy, lack of selfconfidence and inability to cope, accompanied by general anxiety driven by uncertainty, that fear of the unknown. What role do you feel that plays as we start to move into some of these more insecure states? That inability to simply accept and allow. What might be, again, the six core needs. So we cannot survive without certainty.

Some people teach the needs in a hierarchy and so they would say, well, some people need more certainty than others. I got a friend who would say of me that the difference between you and I, Jamie, is we need different amounts of certainty. He sees me as adventurous, risk taking, confident, can think on my feet, where he's risk averse, analytical, slow to make decisions. And I just say no, we both need exactly the same amounts of certainty. I've just found a really resourceful way to meet that internally and so I don't need to pay as much attention to it.

My cup is full. He on the other hand, has found very poor means of meeting the need for certainty. So it's constantly top of mind, his cups never full and he always feels uncertain. So I think the human being cannot survive in uncertainty. And so again, the child can only look outside themselves, crave control, craves things going a certain way.

People behaving in a certain way so they can feel a sense of order when those external means of certainty are jeopardized. And that forces that creates great internal uncertainty and a person can't survive there. So I think the whole process of growing up is to find ways to self satisfy and to be self sufficient. And especially when it comes to certainty, you can't just say, look, I don't need certainty anymore, I can survive in more increasingly uncertain places. That's not possible.

In order to appear to be able to cope with things not going the way that you'd like them to or changing, it means you have to have a very high level of internal certainty, that you know that you're a good person, you know that you are capable of confident, you know that whatever happens, you'll show up in a way that will meet the challenge. Right, to meet the challenge. And you've got this so this idea of embracing uncertainty and backing yourself means then you can survive not needing things to go a certain way, but you still need a high level of certainty. That perceived struggle for certainty sometimes to me surfaces as avoidance, dodging what we deem the real issue. There's a general tendency to engage experiential avoidance on many levels, where we look to sidestep the negative somewhat, what we deem the negative aspect.

For example, what role do you feel that plays in developing secure trust? Yeah, well, I think if you've got this fear that you can't deal with life, you kind of taught yourself that you need to keep running away and resorting to historical forms of certainty where you crave control or you try and control things, then you don't survive in increasing complexity. You sabotage things so that they stay the way that you want them to. And that can create very ugly patterns of behavior, especially for an adult who every day shows up to a world that is constantly changing. So if you can't handle that internally, you're in strife and you're likely to cause chaos for those around you as well.

In that regard, what role do you feel our sense of familiarity then, plays as we not only view ourselves, but as we interact with others? Getting caught in our own patterns and our own biases, I think, is the tendency to create. We create structure for our lives, to give ourselves certainty. And because something works, then we rarely go back and review it. And so the challenge is, it only works for a season.

We develop strategies to meet needs and protect fears in certain seasons and they work well enough. However, the season changes and people still cling to that bias, that strategy that set up, which may have served them well there, but now the world's changed, the situations change, and they're still clinging to that map of the world or that narrative has given them historical certainty. It's a very difficult thing to have a historic map to try to navigate new territory. I think about my own life and those I've grown up with, and I think that as seasons have changed, I'm most grateful for my ability to have recreated myself, to reinvent myself. In each new season, I look back at friends and family who got stuck in a certain way of being and the world's change and the seasons change and they have not.

And they've clung to those biases and it makes them very rigid and unable to handle the complexity of a rapidly changing world. So as we're growing up, we're learning some of these roles and models of security, are we not? We are. We're constantly looking around how others do it, taking our lead from what we see and assuming that others know better because they've lived longer. So I think that's constantly the child's assumption.

Parents know best, adults know best. All right, then I'll take my cues from what others are doing around me. It's a challenging thing to bring things in house and to reference your own opinion. I think that's probably the Freud talks about the human's greatest challenges to break free from the nest. There's great forces at work, both in the parent and the child that actively resists that freedom.

And so I think lots of people stay in the patterns they've seen in their family and keep referring to them even when they've left the home physically. They're still stuck there emotionally and psychologically in that regard. Aren't we somewhat conditioned then to look towards others somewhat insistently to find and discover that sense of certainty and security. Very much so. And I think so much of the work that I do with people could be described as helping them fully become adults.

And it seems like that shouldn't be work that has to be done, it should be natural. But it seems not. It seems the role of a parent is to prepare their children for adulthood, which is selfsufficiency. And so they understand that physically and financially. Can my child dress themselves?

Can they feed themselves or can they earn their own money? Can they drive their own car? Right. They're an adult tick. But still emotionally, intellectually, psychologically, spiritually, they're still externally referenced, they're still very much needy and dependent on those around them.

And so in so many ways are still a child and still then living out that conditioning to look around and take their cues from what others think they should or shouldn't be doing. What is right and wrong, good and bad, lived out of the maps that they've inherited. So I think it's such a common issue, but it creates chaos for the adult person because those external reference points can't possibly qualify you to live effectively as a human being. You're the only one of you. And so how could anyone else possibly know what you should or shouldn't do?

I totally agree. I've always been kind of fascinated by how we tend to have this idea of responsibility thrust upon us as we're raised be responsible for yourself, take accountability. Yet we miss some of that gap. We never hear anything about the role of volition, what exactly volition is just simply being aware of yourself and confidently embracing that.

It's a great point. I think that self awareness is not a very common trait. People have a broad idea of what it means to be responsible and what is required of them to function but often do it in the dark and stumble around with assumptions and external reference points. So that idea of I am me and what does it mean to be mean, I'm the only one of me and developing a really beautiful relationship with your own self understanding your own nature, the ability to trust your nature, the ability to trust your own desire. Not many people do that work.

And so we're at sea about in their own body and their own self as to how to be themselves in the world today. You mentioned those assumptions. Those assumptions are very often driven by expectation and obligation. Not to say that those things don't give us somewhat of an anchoring point but as we lean into some of that more overemphasis on those states we then tend to question whether or not we're filling those expectations and obligations.

Absolutely. That again is the externally referenced human being what the others want for me? What should or shouldn't I be doing? Because if I can please you, if I can meet your expectations, then I must be a good person. I must be significant.

I must have value. Then I belong to you. So it happens that's how people make their decisions on what they should or shouldn't do, those obligations and expectations. All the while they dehumanize themselves because they stop listening to their own self and constantly listen to what's around them. That whole role of validation to me can be such a fascinating, somewhat tripping.

Point we often stumble into it's everything that internal validation. Can you look into your own eyes and deeply love and accept yourself? Because if you can't, or if you're unwilling to, then you make yourself very vulnerable in the world. Because if I need you to validate and accept me, then I have to play the game by your rules. I have to be constantly aware of what I think you want me to do or not do, and obsess about fulfilling those expectations.

And not just for you, but everyone around you. And even when I do feel like I'm being validated by you, it's fleeting, because then I'll think, well, did you really mean to validate me? Can I guarantee that I've got it again tomorrow? Or I have to work just as hard to keep gaining that validation? I think it's a descent of madness when you are externally creating validation.

Obviously, the child has to the child doesn't have the capacity to self validate. But again, that is the role of the adult to work out how to meet those needs for yourself. That's an interesting role to look at, how that starts to form in our childhood, how a lot of our patterns and conditions run counter to that. Everything from how we correct they'll say correct, insteer children, rather than maybe that notion of discipline. That's a whole nother conversation today.

Maybe correction, of course, versus discipline. How does that start to surface in our sense of confidence? Are we being confidently and gently nudged back on course, or are we harshly being admonished and made to feel like we're in the wrong? Yeah, I mean, I have people ask me all the time because I specialize in insecurity, often their mind goes, well, how do I protect my children from being insecure? What do I need to do differently as a parent?

And I think, firstly, even perfect parents don't prevent their child from developing insecurities, which is a very important part to know. And sometimes the person who obsesses about being perfect makes it most difficult for their child to develop their own sense of self because the parent is so good and so present and so loving and so righteous and so wise. So the child always continues to defer. But I think the thing that really happens for a child is they understand there's a transaction to be made. They understand that the parents have validation, have acceptance, have love, have certainty, have significance for them, and they need to behave in certain ways to get that from them, and they kind of gamify it unconsciously.

I see if I like certain sports, my dad will like me. He'll accept me. He'll validate. If I'm stoic and emotionless, my dad would be proud of me. If I'm emotional, my dad will criticize.

Okay, cool. I'll then develop a character that is stoic and like soccer so that I can get what I need. And then you think that's who you are, but you're just about the character to win at that game. I think the challenge of parenting is a difficult one, but whatever happens to the child, it is our own responsibility to go back and repair ourselves. That's part of the healing work that is part of fully growing up.

Your parents are not going to get it right. They'll have excesses and deficiencies, and that's part of your gift, that opportunity to then go back and be right in your own eyes and repair yourself. It's interesting on a number of regards. First, to look at how we're looking at that act of what we deem as reparenting when we're adults, we're trying to maybe shed some of that skin, so to speak, of what we learned as children. Sometimes looking at that in relation to that notion of developing a thick skin, what might that skin be keeping in or out becomes real relevant in this moment.

What are we just simply holding on to? What from our past are we simply hanging onto? How might that then serve to surface as trauma in our response, which to me is very rooted in insecurity. We're not maybe going completely down that path, but we'll nod to it while it's here today. Yeah, absolutely.

I think the awareness of identity, when you think about who you are, people are often really curious about their past to try and find evidence of who they are as a human being. But that's a difficult place to look because who you are referenced by who you've been, is simply the character you've developed to meet needs and protect fear. So you may have developed a persona that's quite funny or thick skinned or emotional or stoic. All that is just gamified. Your experience of being validated and accepted, it's not really who you are.

It's just the game that you've played. So the idea of going back and examining those characters and personas and realizing what role they served and what strategy they were delivering means that you can get eyes on them, you can update them, you can improve them. You can realize that you can recreate your own strategy to meet needs. You could be a different person. You could upgrade the strategies where you've noticed back to the humor piece you've noticed.

You've developed a strategy of being the funny guy or the clown or the one who has a quick wit or a sharp tongue. And that's just you've noticed. That was your strategy to elevate yourself as a child, and that worked for you. Well, that's not who you are. You're not tied to that mode of showing up in the world just because it worked well enough.

In a time you could go back and question that strategy and improve it and develop a new persona and a new identity that's more wholehearted or aligned to your valleys and not as hurtful in the world. That leads back to that notion of seeking that sense of certainty. I find it fascinating that we say, I'm looking for who I am in a past tense. People looking for who they are as present tense what you're being now, yet we go to what we were to discover who we are. I think that's so true in it.

I think that goes to the assumption that behavior is the most accurate indicator of character. So we think, well, you know a person by how they behave. If a person behaves a certain way now I know you. If you steal, I get it, you are a thief. If you lie, I get it.

You are a liar. That's such a strange thing to do, because behavior is just an attempt to meet needs and protect fears. And so we develop patterns of behavior that reward us, but it's not who we are. Of course, you could be whoever you want to be, and when you understand the freedom you have and the flexibility you have to be anyone, then it's an exciting thing. But in order to do that, you have to set yourself free from the strategies you've developed in the past, update those assumptions, create better maps for yourself, upgrade your beliefs and your strategies to meet those core needs.

It's interesting, we look at that whole notion of labeling the action. You lied is the action, yet now suddenly you are the liar. Yeah, we create that categorization that automatically pigeonholes our belief about someone or something. I listened to an interesting podcast this past weekend looking at that very idea notion, somewhat comically at how there was a tendency to name birds and it became very misogynistic in some regards, or it was appropriated misogynistic, but based on the characteristics of trying to categorize birds. We try to literally pigeonhole things to form that certainty.

And that's as far as I'm going to go with it. With the aside today, I love thinking about the power of labels because they become prisons for people. People look at how they behave or how others behave, give that a label, and then they say, that's who I am. I had a conversation with someone this week who referred to themselves as an empath. That's who I am, Jim.

And I am an empath. I was just so curious by why you would create such a prison for yourself and misunderstand the fact that no, you've just developed a strategy where if you can prioritize other people's feelings above your own, seem to be caring and compassionate you'll be rewarded by being accepted. That's all you've done. It's not actually about them. You just want to fit in.

You want to feel like you're a good person. And that was your best plan when you were growing up. So that's who you are. You are an empath. That's such a strange pigeonhole, and that will cause you and others a lot of grief in the world.

That's always kind of been fascinating to look at with somewhat an eye of curiosity, that notion of being an empath. Just from that regard, if I'm associating myself with being reactive to everyone's emotions, I'm automatically creating that label where I say, I am going to consciously react to everybody's emotions. It's interesting why you would pigeonhole yourself with that label. I'm just going to throw that out there, of course. And the reason why anyone would do that is because it meets needs and protect fears.

So the fear of, well, I don't think I'm a very good person or a likable person. So I'll find the thing that I would guess would make me the most likeable, okay, if I can be seen to be someone who cares about others emotions, then they will in turn like me. And then if they like me, I'll feel like I'm good. So it's all that's going on there. It's a strategy to hide behind, a strategy to validate, a strategy to find, a strategy to find meaning and acceptance.

All very outdated because staff, when you're young, when you don't have any other options. But as you progress, you develop lots more options. The adult has far more options. And the best of those options are to bring those corneas in house rather than constantly outsourcing them. In that regard, to me, it appears that we then somewhat seek dominance or superiority over that sense of security, over that sense of certainty in order to validate it.

Absolutely. And I think sometimes that shows up as narcissism. So that dominance and that control, it seems like, right, well, I'm so insecure about who I am. What I'll do is run the opposite direction. I'll be the loudest person, the most dominant person, the most controlling person.

And so you'll think that I'm so confident, you'll think that I've got it all together because I'm overcompensating and controlling everything and everyone all the time. I think the path that people take to protect themselves from their deepest fear about who they really are is either to run or to hide. So that shows up as either heroic quests to demonstrate how wonderful you are by what you can achieve. So you got to be a look at me kind of strategy. I'm a good person, I'm an important person, I'm a meaningful person because of what I do.

And so if that's your strategy, then you can never rest. You've got to do more and more and more because you're only as good as your last performance or I was just. Saying about you or others kind of goes down the hidden path. They find certainty in the safety of their structures, the safety of their comfort zones, the safety of the identities they've created, or the personas they've created. So they bunker down into safe pockets of the world that they can control, where they're never going to get questioned, never going to get found out, because they're well within their limits of what they know and can perform there consistently either way, or with the aim of never really being exposed to who you think you might be.

Learning to grow is like learning to fly. We just trust the process and take the leap. Alan Watts tells us, the only place you have to begin is now, because here is where we are. At the risk of going out on a limb, every area of our lives is guided and informed by our innate sense of security. Embracing uncertainty and risk can be a source of insecurity, leaving it somewhat difficult to notice and define.

In the quixotic quest for certainty, one is often left feeling anxious, struggling with the need to find supporting evidence for our beliefs. With human beings, we trust ourselves in an endless struggle to erase all doubt. Once we eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, ultimately becomes our truth. One of our greatest conundrums is that we seldom know which fate awaits us. For every outside, there is an inside.

And for every inside, there is an outside. What is esoteric, what is profound, and what is deep, we call implicit. What is obvious and open, we call explicit. And I in my environment, and you in your environment, are explicitly different, as different can be, yet implicitly go together, foregoing the self, the universe grows. I if you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend or loved one.

And as always, we're grateful for you, our valued listening community. I'm Jeffrey Besecker. This has been the light inside.

Shabnam CurtisProfile Photo

Shabnam Curtis

Certified Integral Coach

I was born and raised in Tehran, experiencing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 firsthand. In 2004 I immigrated to the United States, where I now work as a passionate life coach and a writer. I offer one-on-one coaching sessions as well as workshops for groups. On the journey of self-growth, my focus is on Integral coaching practices that help others to see their strength and capabilities in all different areas of their lives and actualize more of their potential for a deeper connection to life. As an author, I also teach memoir writing workshops and have been performing lectures to colleges and interviews with podcasts about my memoir, My Persian Paradox, and the power of sharing stories and healing. As a coach, I am a compassionate listener when people don’t feel safe to share their stories with the world; I will help my clients in searching to bring out their hidden gems through their stories.

I actively and curiously learn about the subjects of human growth and self-development. I search and learn from the latest scientific tools on human psychology and biology as well as the traditional wisdom and the stories from all around the world. I believe there is a piece of The Truth of this life in every story. Collectively, stories hold the ultimate Truth. We can create a safe world together!

I live in Virginia with my husband and two dogs.

My motto is, “Let’s share our stories. Love is the answer!”

Jaemin FrazerProfile Photo

Jaemin Frazer

Autho/TEDx Speake/Coach

Jaemin is the founder of The Insecurity Project and specializes in helping entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners eradicate insecurity so they can show up to life unhindered by doubt, fear, and self-limiting beliefs. He is widely recognized as one of Australia’s best life coaches and a leading voice globally on the subject of personal insecurity.

Jaemin is the author of Unhindered - The Seven Essential Practices for Overcoming Insecurity, Elegantly Simple Solutions to Complex People Problems, and The One Minute Coach, 365 thought provoking insights to start your day, based on the popular ‘One-minute coach’ radio segment heard by over 750,000 listeners daily.

Jaemin’s life work is represented in his ground-breaking model around the process for irradicating insecurity from your life. His conviction is that not only is insecurity a solvable problem, it is our most important adult work to free ourselves from the limiting beliefs of our childhood.

Jaemin is a dynamic speaker who skilfully blends a lifetime of experience in leadership and coaching with his passion for human behavioural science and peak performance. His pragmatic and direct approach to vulnerable subjects about mental health and wellbeing are a breath of fresh air and provide rare ‘cut through the noise’ conversation.

Jaemin’s wholeheartedness around his life’s purpose means he embodies his message in a way that is rare in the personal development industry today. This is clearly what he was born to do.

With over 15,000 coaching hours under his belt, he is able to draw from a deep and rich source of lived experience, helping ambitious people improve the quality of their life in the areas that matter most.