Who we are is made up of all of our experiences, our memories, our emotions, what we value among other things.

In order to make sense of our experiences, we run everything we see, hear, feel, taste and smell through our filters. Everything coming through our senses is just raw data until we run it through our filters to make sense of it.


1. Deletion
Consciously, we can only hold on to 5-9 pieces of information at any given time. Research is now showing that this number may be even less because of our senses being bombarded with information from every direction, non stop.

Unconsciously, we are taking in 2.3 million pieces of information every second.

Our deletion filter keeps us sane. We become overwhelmed with more than 5-9 pieces of information at one time, imagine how we’d feel with 2.3 million.

The challenge with this is that you don’t know what you’re deleting. Every time your memory of an experience is different from someone else’s, how do you know you didn’t delete the information? What if you’re both right and you just deleted different things? How would that change the dynamics in the communication and in the relationship?

2. Distortion
The only thing we have is the present. Whenever our mind wanders to the past or the future, we’re distorting reality.

Our distortion filter is our creativity filter. By our ability to imagine things as we would like them to be, we’re able to influence our future and create what we want in our life. Take a minute to think about a goal you have. Imagine what it will feel like when you achieve it. That sweet smell of success. Let that feeling of success engulf you…..bask in it, it’s already yours.

On the flip side of the filter, when you think about something that hasn’t happened yet, and feel anxious, afraid or even angry, you’re also distorting reality. You’re actually influencing your future by creating what you don’t want in our life.

If it hasn’t happened yet, no matter how you look at it you’re making it up.

My recommendation is that if you’re going to make it up, make up something good.

3. Generalization
We learn through our generalization filter. We have a one time experience and we create beliefs and make decisions around that experience. In many cases, this expands our growth and in some cases it limits our growth. From these experiences we create a set of beliefs to support our generalizations.

An example would be if you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out you may decide a number of things such as: It’s not worth being in a relationship, they always end. There are no good relationships. Or, I learn more about relationships with each one I have. It’s great to be in a relationship even if it isn’t forever.

Similarly you could have an unpleasant experience at work and decide that you might as well do everything yourself. Nobody wants to work as a team. You can’t trust anybody. Or, I enjoy working with people I’m aligned with. I can find people I’m aligned with. Working in a team is great when it’s the right team.

Start paying attention to what you decide after an experience. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.