What is unconscious bias?
Using facebook as an example, they are presented with a ton of information every day and have to decide out of all that information what to show you in your news feed. They use algorithms to help them decide and this is programmed to show you information based on past information you have shown an interest in. Note, It will not show you any other view points or opinions that may challenge your current beliefs or help you to see life from a different perspective. It keeps you in a bubble. Unconscious bias is much the same, in any given moment your brain is bombarded with 11 million of pieces of information. Consciously, however, you can only be aware of 40 bits. The 40 bits your mind shows you will be based on your values, beliefs and how you see the world. It is also steeped in stereotypes. We make generalisations and assumptions about a person or given situation especially when we are rushed and tired. In a nutshell, this means there is a lot more information about a given situation that you have missed. Information that could change your life. The solution is to pause. To set back from these automatic thought processes and decisions made as a result. To question and to make the unconscious conscious.
- You say that unconscious bias is not just an equality issue but a wellbeing one too. What do you mean by that?
Everyone is impacted by unconscious bias in one way or form. Imagine constantly being overlooked for promotion for example for a characteristic that you have no control over and which has nothing to do with your ability. Your gender, race, height or even because of your accent, for example. The persistent setbacks will slowly erode your self-esteem, which over a sustained period, research shows, can eventually impact your wellbeing. It's like the effect of 10'000 paper cuts. The Reboot Process is a preventative measure, as well as helps to mitigate its impact.
- What inspired The Reboot Retreat?
Together with research conducted, I was inspired by my son's school. He was moved mid secondary from an environment where implicit and explicit biases were rife. It not only impacted him academically, but his wellbeing fell through the floor too. He became despondent, disengaged and in the end stopped attending. With all the will in the world he would never become his best self in that culture and environment. In his new environment, although still a minority, with its awesome inclusive culture, his life was transformed. The headmaster's ethos was a simple one: The children must not be labeled. In his old school their ethos meant he would be unable to do treble science. In his new school, among all his A/A*s in his recent GCSE's, in the said treble science he achieved all A*'s. The new school is like a new world order. A culture and environment when students can thrive. The pupils all have a special air about them too, are confident, engaged, able to be their authentic self and as a result, their success is phenomenal. I was also encouraged by research published in the Harvard Business Review which illustrated that teams, which looked and thought differently from each other, were smarter.
- Why a mindfulness approach?
Research illustrates that the solution to improve our wellbeing, unconscious bias and being creative is that we simply need to stop. Both our unconscious biases and unsupporting beliefs are able to thrive in our subconscious minds because we are moving too fast and have no time to stop and think about how incomplete or untrue our decisions are. This means we are missing out on rich and vital information which could change our lives, the lives of others and the organisations we work for. Reboot is a truly awesome experience where you'll emerge feeling alive, engaged, re-energised, confident and creative again.
- You say to find my voice I would need to unplug at times but I'm not big on all that whoo, whoo stuff.
Haha, neither was I. The thing is for change to happen you need to unplug, get still and begin making conscious choices. Bias is primarily unconscious and so is able to thrive in our minds because we are moving too fast and have no time to think about how truly ridiculous many of our thoughts are. It's your thoughts and beliefs that prevent you from living freely. Research shows the internet is simply riddled with biases and stereotypes too, another reason we need to unplug every now and again. It has transpired recently that the unconscious biases the programmers hold about gender and minority groups are also being passed on to the fastest growing area of technology, artificial intelligence. Unless we learn to get still and unplug from these messages they will seep into our subconscious and impact our self-esteem. But fear not, I'm a fun person and so I even make the whoo, whoo bits fun. There are also many ways to get still that are less whoo whoo which we also explore. Nonetheless, getting still is a part of my method and it truly works :).
Do you only work in London?
No, I will go further afield too. Just let me know where you are and I'll source venues to pop up there too.
Are the practitioners that you work with experienced?
Yep! We only work with qualified practitioners and experts for all our experiences.
Haha, that's because it is. See you on the other side.