Beliefs vs. facts – effects on our behavior
In my last post I wrote about how what we choose (knowingly or not) to believe determines most of what we say, act, and react. I read something surprising that touches on this. Maarten Schinkel reported in the NRC Handelsblad (Sept. 30, 2011) that a high ranking official from China at a very public meeting called the eurocrisis a “cultural problem” with the conviction that the southerners like to work 15 hours a week and the northerners, 80.
When in reality, the opposite is true! According to online Marxistiki Foni (May 4, 2010), there is a myth of the “lazy Greek workers”: “Since the crisis in Greece has hit the headlines there have appeared in the media many stories about how Greece has too many civil servants, how the working week is very short, how people retire early on fat pensions, and so on, as if this were the cause of the crisis. Facts and figures, however . . . tell a completely different story.”
Matthew Dalton reported in The Wall Street Journal (“Busting North-South Stereotypes,” February 14, 2011) that the Greeks work the MOST, with an average of 42 hours a week. “Spain and Portugal aren’t far behind with a work week of around 39 hours. Germans work on average just under 36 hours a week [on par with Americans, by the way]. And where is the shortest work week in the EU? That would be in the Netherlands, under 31 hours a week.”
However it is that our convictions come to be, they need a tune-up from time to time. Which ones drove some of your actions today? Ask yourself, “Which ones are potentially FALSE ? How often am I on automatic pilot, allowing my beliefs and thoughts to determine crazy or even sometimes hurtful things I say and do?”