Heightened Tendency to Filter (HTF)

The second effect of stress according to Eugene Jennings is a Heightened Tendency to Filter (HTF).

Jennings says that when we are under stress, we are prone to listen and to process information selectively. This “filtering” occurs because when we are stressed, we tend to listen for things that will relieve the stress.

I had an experience a couple of years ago. I received a medical diagnosis I wasn’t expecting. The doctor did a great job of describing matters. My wife and my daughter heard it with me.

When we compared notes later, there were some pretty serious findings that I didn’t comprehend. I focused on all the positive stuff and filtered out the stuff that could be wrong. My wife and daughter got me up to speed on those things. I revisited my doctor. Verified the differences. I developed a more realistic view.

(By the way, if you are wondering, I’m good. No current issues I’m aware of now).

Here’s the point. HTF can cause your view to get off base. It’s important to know that the tendency exists. If you process information in isolation while under stress, the chances are higher that you will be off base.

When under stress, don’t go with your first assessment. Pause and consider deeper. Restate your take on things and see if others confirm the take. Assume you’re missing something and need to find it.  Trust your team. You need them to develop a real sense of what’s going on.