The Happiness Connection  

Do you select ignorance?

An email landed in my box with the subject line Selective Ignorance.

These two words did exactly what they were designed to do; they got my attention.

Instinctively, I interpreted the words as negative. I have no idea what the email was about. I didn’t like its attitude, so I dismissed it with my delete key.

As is often the way, being out of sight doesn’t mean a thought will disappear from your mind. I started thinking about the word ignorance. I consider it rude. I wondered if the dictionary agreed with me.

According to the Oxford Dictionaries, ignorance is a lack of knowledge or information.

That isn’t offensive in itself, although when I looked up a slightly different version of the word, I discovered that ignorant is defined as lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

That seems more insulting and could easily be interpreted at a slur.

Honestly, anything can be thrown at somebody as an insult.

When I was a teenage babysitter, one of my charges came to me in floods of tears. Her older brother and sister had said horrible things to her.

When I asked for details, I struggled not to laugh.

They told her she wasn’t as good as them because she hadn’t been adopted.

After several years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, the parents of this trio decided to adopt. Shortly after the second baby arrived, the mom discovered she was pregnant. Isn’t that so often the way.

Being different has caused misery and isolation for so many. It doesn’t matter what makes you different, it can be used as ammunition against you.

In primitive times, working as a team improved the chances of humans surviving. Mother Nature stacked the cards in our favour by programming us to want to be accepted by our peers.

I’m getting a little off topic. Back to selective ignorance.

Once I got past the idea that ignorance means a lack of knowledge, not necessarily stupidity, I was able to examine those two words in combination.

Selective means choosing, so selective ignorance is picking what you want to be uninformed about. It makes sense.

I think this is an idea everyone can use to their advantage.

I guess I used selective ignorance many years ago when I made a conscious decision not to listen to the news. I don’t actively avoid it; I just don’t seek it out.

I can go weeks without reading a paper or watching the news.

I’m not suggesting you should make the same decision. It was a good move for me, because I found the negativity of current affairs lowered my mood and made me feel un-empowered.

I’ve discovered that any news that’s important for me to know about seems to reveal itself in some way. I’ll hear about it in conversation, see a post on social media, or just happen to turn on the TV when something crucial is being covered.

If I want more information, I go out and get it.

Selective ignorance is just one more tool that may help you feel happier, especially in challenging times like now.

You get more of what you focus on.

I’ve been reminding myself of this for years. Perhaps it’s time to add a partner statement.

If you stop focusing on something, you’ll get less of it.

Sometimes the obvious is the last thing you see.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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