We Are All Delusional!

“Why in the world would you do that?” Haven't we all asked ourselves that question when we witness behavior that makes us scratch our head? And not just about strangers either. Our own spouses, siblings, parents, children, friends, and colleagues have stunned us with their actions as well. Why is this? Why do human beings with the same biophysiological equipment, the same sensory receptors, behave in such diverse ways when in the same settings? I mean, how is it possible that my wife is not completely emotionally immersed in the drama of a University of Illinois basketball game in the same way I am? Why should she be surprised at the expletives I express when my beloved players miss an easy basket in a close game against Michigan State? Oh, the humanity!

The key to understanding the mysteries of human behavior involves a concept called metacognition, which literally means “thinking about thinking.” For the purposes of this book, I will use the term to mean metacognitive self-awareness. There are other slightly different definitions for metacognition and metacognitive self-awareness, so let me clearly articulate mine: Metacognitive self-awareness is an understanding of how our life experiences have shaped our cognitive schemas which, in turn, determine how we derive meaning from our reality. (I promise that the entire book won't be so painfully clinical.)

Okay, so you're wondering, “What in the world are schemas?” Well, schemas (again, for ...

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