Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

Positive and Negative Perspectives

May 30, 2012 15 comments
Satire on false perspective, showing all of th...

Satire on false perspective, showing all of the common mistakes artists make in perspective, by Hogarth, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.

I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.

I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”

Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”

Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”

I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”

This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.

Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.

At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.

Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.

When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.

The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.

If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?

Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Until then, a bientot,


Surviving the Status Shuffle

October 22, 2011 3 comments

Whether a person has reached a new phase of an existing career or pursuing a new one, there is always a settling-in phase involved.

The person must go through at least three distinct steps during this phase.

  • Astonishment at having arrived at the new status
  • Panic at the thought of establishing new self-expectations, abilities, and reputation
  • Developing new coping mechanisms and strategic schemes for advancement within that status

The survival process can be either pleasant or not, depending upon the approach used. That approach depends largely on whether the person sought the change in career status or arrived there at someone else’s behest. The least objectionable attitude to assume, nonetheless, is one of acceptance. Stress reduction during the process is paramount. Acceptance breeds calm responses.

New Status Astonishment

If your new status was actively sought on your part, now would be a good time to show everyone that belief in yourself and your capabilities. Obviously someone believed in you or you wouldn’t be in this new position. If you didn’t seek the status, you can always bow out gracefully, without losing face. It’s entirely up to you. You answer the person or organization with a simple No Thank You, and leave it at that.

Let’s assume you’re a writer. You’ve just landed a plum assignment from a pitch you made to a glossy magazine. NOTE: You pitched it, you believed in it. Now deal with it.

The editor loved the idea and is contracting you to run with it. NOTE: You’re at this stage because you’ve learned how to market yourself, your ideas, and your talent. Accept that someone else believes in you and your potential to generate quality product to fulfill that contract.

Panic at New Responsibilities and Expectations

It doesn’t always follow that because you sought this change in status, you understood the responsibilities and expectations that go with it.

Greater belief by others in your abilities settles the mantle of responsibility for quality, punctuality, and consistency squarely on your shoulders. You might not have considered that side of the equation when seeking your elevation. There is no need to panic.

If you’ve strived in the past to provide quality and accuracy in your work, you’ve covered the first and last of those responsibilities. If you’ve set deadlines for yourself and kept them on a consistent basis, you’ve already covered that expectation as well. Panic comes with unfamiliar territory, unfamiliar needs being placed on a person’s career plate. If you took the time before to cultivate your skills to give those factors mentioned above, you’re going to be fine.

If you haven’t yet cultivated those factors, now would be a good time to start. Take it slow. No one is forcing you to be perfect with each second of the day. Take the time to get comfortable with these new expectations. Find a mentor to help you ease into this new position.

Developing Coping Mechanisms and Strategies 

Everyone learns to cope with new circumstances or perish. The best strategy may be to set yourself a work schedule according to your needs. If you work best on a loosely regulated schedule, fine, do that. If you need more structure for better self-monitoring, do that instead. You are the only one who knows what conditions work best for you. Put those in place and stick with them.

When those outside your work throw negative or jeering comments your way, smile. Turn to them and say something like, “Thank you so much. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get to live your dream, too.” Use the enthusiastic and positive intonation of sincerity and genuine interest. It does make a difference.

Why would you say something like that? Many people deride those who are living a dream and making it work. These people haven’t the courage to live their own dream or they believe their life circumstances don’t allow them to live their dream. Don’t allow their envy to displace your personal positive attitude.

Lastly, at the end of each day, count your blessings. You’ve been given a dream to live or not. You’ve been shown a path to walk or not. Only you can choose to take your blessings for a stroll down the road of possibilities. In the end it’s the effort you put forth and little else that determines every change in your personal status. Declare it and own it. You created it.

Until later, a bientot,