Frequency Illusion

Have you ever read something about a topic say nutrition and then found yourself encountering the subject over and over again where ever you look? It seems amazing, perhaps even karmic that you just read about it and it seems to be popping up all over the place, literally in everything you read, your conversations, on the billboards and even in the advertisement that otherwise you would not pay heed to. Scientists believe that there is a cognitive bias because of which this happens, also known as the recency effect. Say you just saw a movie of Harrison Ford, chances are you will suddenly notice him in your life more than before. This is also known as the Baader-Meinhof effect.

This phenomenon is essentially a trick that your mind is playing on you. Your brain constantly filters information. This is done to protect your brain from the information overload that it is constantly subject to. So much so that if you look at an image with five dots on it, your brain may allow you to focus on just one at a time. The rest is not useful. In the same manner, your brain registers the information that matters and filters the rest.

Set aside for a minute the debate on whether this is a trick of the mind or karmic coincidence. What was very interesting for me is the fact that your mind does let in more about the things that you have just paid attention to. This begs the question – what should you pay attention to and how? The things that your mind pays attention to is a function of what you read, who you talk to, what you talk about – your experiences in life.  Therefore if you are constantly reading about crime, your brain will stop filtering information about crime, using the recency effect and your experience in life will emphasise crime. This may not mean that there is suddenly more crime just that your brain is not filtering information about it as much. Often, this will happen without you paying too much attention to it, other than occasionally getting a start when life has emphasised a prior experience.

If you believe that you are the sum of all your experiences in life, then fill your life with conversations, information and experiences that define what you wish to be. Your brain will then recognise these issues and then keep finding them in the world around you. They always existed. You just noticed.