GOOD MORNING MONDAY – AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Good Morning! It is Monday once again - Rejoice 😊You are here to experience another day. Treasure this day and treasure yourself! Realize that you cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do today, and every day has an impact and makes a difference. All those with whom you come into contact every day experience you a certain way. It is up to you to decide what kind of difference you want to make and what kind of impact you want to have. Before you start your Monday full speed ahead, think about the kind of difference and impact you want to have today and the rest of this week 😊; then move forward with that intention!
It is not what you look at that matters; it is what you see. (Henry David Thoreau)
What is perception? You could describe perception as your paradigm, frame of reference or model of how you see the world; not in terms of your sense of visual sight, but in terms of your sense of perceiving, interpreting or understanding. A simple way to think about this is to imagine your “paradigm” or “frame of reference” as a map. Each of you has many, many maps within your head that help you discern the way things are (your reality) and the way things should be (your values). Everything you experience is interpreted through your mental maps. Interestingly, you do not really think about the fact that you have them. Also, you do not question them for accuracy. You assume the way you see things is the way it really is or the way it should be. But, is that accurate? How many of you have experienced situations in your life where others were looking at or experiencing the same things and saw them very differently? I would venture to guess this has happened to each of you who are reading this article!
So, why does this happen? Well, for starters each of you is unique, therefore, your perceptions will be unique as well. Your perceptions are colored by: a) what you believe, b) what you experience, and c) what has happened to you in your life….just for starters. You make sense of your world through these lenses. How you make sense of the world impacts every aspect of your life. Perceptions cover both objective facts and subjective situations/experiences. Even when you are looking at “hard facts” you do not pay attention to the same things that others pay attention to; each of you will select the data you choose to see. You will unconsciously filter things out and are convinced it was not there; subjectively, you will then interpret, perceive and consider how to understand and evaluate the situation you are experiencing.
Let me provide two illustrations of this in action😊. This first illustration is taken from the book, 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, Dr. David Niven.
Scientists did a study in which they showed people a deck of playing cards. On each of these cards, however, something was wrong; something differed from the usual. The four of clubs was red and the five of diamonds had six diamonds. People were shown the cards and asked what they saw.
Were people surprised to see these obviously error-filled cards? They were not, because they did not notice. When asked to describe the cards they were looking at people answered that they were looking at the five of diamonds or the four of clubs. They did not mention that they were mismarked.
Why did this happen? Because what we see is a function not only of what is really there, but also of what we are looking for; our expectations and our assumptions.
The stories you tell yourself about what is happening or what you see is filtered by your expectations and your reactions to those expectations.
This next illustration is taken from the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey.
What do you see? An old woman? A young woman? In his book, Covey shares his experience at Harvard Business School. The instructor was teaching the concept that two people can look at the exact same thing, disagree and yet both can be right. It is not logical; it is psychological. The experiment goes as follows:
The instructor brought a large stack of cards into the classroom; half of which had the image of an old woman, the other had the image of a young woman. Each member of the class drew a card and was asked to look at their card for about ten seconds and then pass the card back to the instructor.
The instructor then projected the picture above (containing both images) onto a large screen for all to see. He asked them to describe what they saw. Almost every person that first saw the young woman’s image on the card saw the young woman in the projection; and almost every person who saw the old woman’s image on the card saw the old woman in the projection.
As they discussed and debriefed what they were seeing, tensions flared in the room. Each person was adamant that the image they saw was the accurate image. These arguments ensued even though the students in the room knew that this was an experiment in seeing another point of view. Additionally, only a few students in the room (during this experiment) actually spent time trying to see the other picture (the other point of view). However, after some time, the communication did get less heated and all did finally “see the other point of view”.
This experiment is a great example of how powerful conditioning is and how it impacts your perceptions and paradigms. If looking at a picture for 10 seconds can have that kind of impact, can you imagine the kind of impact a lifetime of experiences has on your perceptions and reactions?
So, what is moral of this story? The more you are aware of your own paradigms and maps, the more you can take responsibility for them. When you are aware of your perceptions it can help you understand more deeply the stories you tell yourself about who you are and the world around you. It is only once you explore your narratives can you search for actual truths.
You might wonder how you can begin to make a change in this area, so ask yourself, “Do I slow down long enough to check for understanding when encountering a difference in a point of view? Do I think about how I am making sense of what I am intaking? Do I listen to others? Am I open to others’ perspectives?” Doing this can truly help you see a larger more objective view. Through calm conversation, being respectful, checking for understanding and really communicating, you are able to see the point of view of others around you, expanding your view of the world.
understanding your perceptions are key to helping you understand others’ perceptions,
you and your perceptions are unique, as are others’ perceptions,
being aware of and understanding your perceptions help you understand the stories you tell yourself
more than one perception is valid, and
it is important to understand and appreciate others’ perceptions
Ask yourself, “How can I open my eyes this week to understand myself and others more deeply?