I was jogging around 8:30am on a very cloudy Saturday morning and I observed a girl of about three years old entering an empty playground with her father. She had kind of a funny look on her face and it got me wondering.
What was she thinking?
I came up with several theories:
– Where are all the other kids?
– Wow, this playground is a bit much, everything looks so big.
– Geez, I get this place all to myself, yay!
Or maybe she was observing a dog across the street from the playground for all I know. Two insights occurred to me from this experience.
1) I have no idea what other people are really thinking, even if there is funny look on their face.
2) We have a choice in how we perceive things.
Now I know these are hackneyed lessons, but they bear repeating because we continue to shape our lives around perceptions we haven’t double checked with reality.
When you claim your power to perceive, you get the ability to re-shape your life. Let’s drill down on some of the most common examples we hear at Handel:
You think someone is mad at you.
Funny looks can ruin your dating life, friendships and family relationships, unless you ask what they mean. Just like I had no idea what that look on the little girl’s face was about, you do not know what the people in your life are really thinking and feeling. You probably want to argue with that, because you “know” these people and have for a long time, unlike the little girl and me. But here’s something to think on: don’t your thoughts and feelings change all the time? Do you really expect that anyone could ever predict or know your thoughts and feelings? Of course not, so don’t be silly (arrogant?) to think you know what others think and feel. The greatest gift of love is to ask and then listen. (Wanna learn how to gracefully find out what others are thinking? That’s our topic for Wake Up Your Weekthis month!)
You think it’s the other person’s fault.
This is a very common misperception among our clients. The antidote to which is not, to think it’s YOUR fault. Instead I recommend again a state of curiosity that would sound, in your mind, like this: “I wonder why my dream in this area is not coming true.” Next steps: ask yourself and the others involved for theories, then reflect upon them without drama or feeling bad. Feeling bad is as forbidden as guilt tripping others, because it is a diversion. Instead, be ready to own up to a possible bratty or chickenish choice you may have made, and then make a promise to do better next time. You may also ask the other person involved his/her perception of what happened.
You think online dating sucks.
This is one of the common, negatively life-shaping perceptions we come across. You may like online dating fine, but just think “men only want one thing” or some other equally defeating perception. We ask our clients to write out all their perceptions about the areas in which they are not succeeding. When you write them out, they seem sillier and flimsier. When you shine the light of day on them, they are often easier to let go. The next step is to actively prove yourself wrong by finding a great date on a dating site. You may not find the love of your life on a dating site after that, but at least you’ve proven you can change YOUR mind!
You think you can’t make more money than you have been making.
It’s normal to think that what you already have represents what you’ll always have in the future, but that’s the worst logic ever and a very faulty perception. The future does not have to be determined by the past and if we got away with that kind of thinking, no progress would have ever been made. In my humble opinion however, A LOT more progress is due soon, so please, let’s stick together and keep changing our minds to align with our dreams as much as possible every day!
Write a comment and tell me how you will challenge your perceptions today.
P.S.- Wanna change your perception about your ability to make and manage money? Come to my teleseminar:Change Your Mind about Money, Aug 14. (Can’t make it live? Register before Aug 14 and get the recording afterward!)