I am going to write down 3 numbers. There is a pattern to my numbers. I want you to look at my numbers and when you think you have the pattern, say 3 numbers that you think follow my pattern. If I say "Yes, that follows my pattern" I then want you to tell me what my pattern is....ready?
Alrighty, remember to say 3 numbers that you think follow my pattern and if I say Yes then you can tell me what my pattern is.
Yes! that follows my pattern. What is my pattern?
No, that's not my pattern
No, that's still not my pattern. Give up?
My Pattern is that the numbers are ascending :O
This has to be one of my favourite counselling games when discussing unhealthy thought patterns or maladaptive schemas. More than likely you felt my pattern was that the numbers ascend with intervals of 4 or every second odd number. This intuition was further reinforced by my statement of "Yes, that follows my pattern". Then though I said no, and the brain struggled. It wanted to argue as it already had all the evidence it needed to state it's intuition and interpretation as true. Only one person has ever been able to figure this out during my sessions and that was a rather bright young school girl. For the rest of us including myself, we have an initial intuition and we stick to it.
Another important part of this game is that it highlights the brain's willingness to only look for information and evidence that proves its initial intuition and will disregard or skim over evidence against. If you were to give me 3 numbers that didn't follow my pattern and therefore receiving a "No, that doesn't follow my pattern", you would have more information than where you started. In my mind, this simple lesson has profound consequences for the way we all think and gives an understanding of our often lack of awareness about the potential errors of our intuitions.
Too often do we fear being told no when this answer can reveal to us not only a whole new perspective but a complete and different understanding of the world around us. Seek and embrace no, it will tell you more than a yes.