‘What I see is how it must feel.’ – FAST & SLOW THINKING theory thoughts with BRAIN INJURY.

In 2019 I completed a Graduate Certificate in Change Management. It’s a business strategy degree FILLED with psychological reasoning and strategic planning for workplace changes.

Brain Injury was certainly the biggest change I’ve ever experienced. I wanted to share how I tailored what I learnt with my new method of thinking.

One established theory influenced me. It represented 99% of my experience and treatment with psychological abuse during brain injury. Unlike my calmer self, I was unable to handle any external abuse targetted at me. This is a common side effect from a brain injury.

This FAST and SLOW thinking theory defines our society. John Kahneman described it to create a breakthrough in understanding human decision making. It’s broken into System 1 and System 2 thoughtful methods to business problem solving that won Kahneman a Nobel prize in 2002 for economics. But forget about the reasoning applied for business and think of life/society more generally.

System 1

This is simply defined as FAST thinking. It’s done without self awareness or control with an unconscious, automatic and effortless result. 98% of our thinking is done in this way.

System 2

This is simply defined as SLOW thinking. It’s done WITH self awareness and an analytical mind about a conscious, carefully thought and researched result. ONLY 2% of our thinking is done in this way.

How does this apply to Brain Injury?

I found people’s preference for System 1 thinking after I had a brain injury. It’s true the method for most of our thinking does this within fast moving processes to get through each day. The sad reality is that when someone is going through mental trauma, your fast response to YELL, DEMONISE and ABUSE without necessary reasoning pushes people towards lowering their self worth and an independent move towards a long System 2 thinking about themselves.

This is where isolating questions arise ‘why was I yelled at, that wasn’t fair’, ‘I was yelled at because I acted anxious, it was my fault’, ‘am I that worthless to be treated this way’, ‘Everyone does this to me since my injury, maybe I shouldn’t be on this Earth’, ‘Will I ever heal?’

Deepening someone’s mental trauma with a psychological illness is sometimes the result of fast thinking. We know the catastrophic personal and silent possibilities.

The amount of rage I came across without System 2 thinking, left me shocked at the constant abuse people use towards others. I rarely found even a simple question on how I was feeling. Even an internet search to read about Brain Injury seemed too hard because it was too analytical for most friends or unknown individuals. People needed specific training to break from their System 1 attacks.

I have had to accept the world’s fast and slow thinking realities. I must admit that having it explained by Kahneman partially helped my trauma healing. I had to let it go, something I said in this video about anger and frustration during Brain Injury.

This is where people should understand there are two processes in Brain Injury healing – dealing with your own limitations and the mental health of others.

The dark reality of the theory is that System 1 thinking sends signals or information into System 2 thinking to create truths – this is where well thought assumptions about RACISM, SEXUALITY and SEX assert in our minds.

A simple historical example is African slavery for centuries. Many humans thought it might’ve been wrong but used System 2 thinking to explain why it was correct – even though it wasn’t – society had conditioned them to believe it was. Gradually society changed acceptable racial truths on the subject and System 1 tells us today that racism is incorrect, albeit only for some of us unfortunately.

This was my very simple explanation to relate Kahneman’s theory to Brain Injury. Read more developed insights about the theory here and try your best to use System 2 thinking, but question the definitions within the system while undertaking the task.

Decision making is a complicated study area – now add the emotional treatment of the brain injured and it actually becomes a little simpler – be kind ❤

Easy tip: Please don’t yell 🙂

Published by Paul - Brain Injured and Traveller in one.

The World is an amazing place filled with adventure, awe and excitement. As a child I dreamt that I would see every country, every crevice of the globe. And now? Now I continue to fulfil that dream...I would like to share that journey with you in some small part...

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