Each Friday, I volunteer some of my time to help the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. My role there is a reader; I read the books which are recorded on digital audio for blind and dyslexic people to be able to use primarily college and high school text books. My job is to read the books verbatim (only interpreting/describing pictures, graphs, tables and illustrations) — how hard is that to do? Simply, read what’s in front of you.
Most of the books are fairly straightforward to read and this week’s was no different. It was an English writing book, dealing mostly with grammar and structure. Some of the exercises the students perform in the book deal with identifying sentences that are grammatically incorrect. So, here I have to read sentences with grammatical errors. Instead, I kept reading the exercise sentences not verbatim (with the errors), but as they should be corrected. This is not very useful to a student trying to learn. I kept having to re-record sentences and made sure I was concentrating very hard on what I was reading.
Why was this happening? My subconscious was filling in the gaps of what my mind thought SHOULD be there, not what actually was.
Frequently, this is what also happens in a dispute. If communication breaks down (which is often the cause of most disputes), the mind fills in the gaps with what it thinks is the truth. This can be right or wrong. The mind will tend to demonize the other person in the same way. Also, the mind doesn’t like to be wrong. It will fill in gaps to justify any wrong decision (cognitive dissonance).
The lesson here is to not make assumptions about anything. Investigate. Research. And be objective. Look at things from someone else’s shoes (this is usually why you hire an attorney — so they can be that objective advocate).