“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are” Do you know what this popular quote by Anais Nin means?
Well I think it means that we all tend to view things not as they truly are, but within the context of our personal preconceived notions and prejudices. We measure everything and everyone by our impressions, beliefs and values – our previous experiences usually affect our expectation of future realities. We only see what we are prepared to see.
Not words…but meanings.
This is often the reason why in “good conversations”, as stated by Emerson, people don’t speak to the “words” but to the “meanings of each other” – It is not so much about what is actually said, but more of what we actually think has been said. As Richard Pascale said “…we are much more likely, to fulfill our perceptions about how the world works than we are to fulfill our goals, ideals and visions.”- in fact it is believed that you can affect other people’s perception about you, by what you perceive and communicate about yourself.
A Harvard research has shown that 90% of the errors in thinking are errors of perception. When companies advertise their brands, it is to your perception of their brand that they appeal to. It is not what is, but what you think it is. Little wonder advertising and media communication remains big business. Truth be told…Your perception is your reality.
If perception is such a big deal, I need to know, “How can I in my daily conversations, address and respond effectively, to the “meanings and nuances of conversation of the next person?”
It all begins with clarifying, understanding and interpreting your values. If you are not clear on your values, on what’s most important in your life, what you truly stand for; if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have a tough time making a decision about something – it is because you have a values conflict – what this means is that all decision making comes down to values clarification.
What exactly are Values?
‘Values’ is literally translated from the Latin word, valere, which means, “to be strong” – this means something that gives you strength, something that is important to you; something that you feel strongly about, something that is worth standing up for, something that gives your life a meaning. It is defined as, “deep engrained principles that guide your actions”. Values are the lenses through which we view ourselves and the world – the essence of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Your true values, someone said, are the principles you live by in your life. They are the behaviours and activities you are naturally drawn to. Your true values define who you really are. Too often, we find it hard to identify what is really important to us. Instead we pursue goals which are out of alignment with our values and wonder why we feel unbalanced, dissatisfied and why things are not working out. (Just like a car with the engine in perfect condition but with tyres out of alignment).
Clarifying your top four values
Although values are powerful when unearthed, they can be difficult to bring to the surface because they operate below our conscious awareness; and as such would require the administration of a set of tools or a test like the values matrix, to help identify which values significantly contribute to an individual’s value judgments and make up the essence of the choices which drive behavioural patterns- (you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to receive a values matrix evaluation)
After this, now what?
After you come up with your top four values, ask yourself, “What do my values need to be, to achieve my goals? It’s the same as asking, “What kind of person do I have to become to achieve my goals”?
You should however understand that when considering a career change or habitual change of any kind, your values also need to experience a shift; this is because you’ll need to change at the core of who you are – how you think, how you look at the world – you will need a paradigm shift involving significant adjustments in perspective (It means who do I have to “be”, to “do” what is necessary to “have” whatever it is I want to have.).
It is only when you are being the best you can BE (which points to personal development), that you can DO what it takes to HAVE what you want in life.
What you do next is to post your new values at home, at work – anywhere they will be seen; particularly by people who can hold you accountable to the new standard. Commit to a peer mentoring process in order to make this a reality. Jim Rohn said, “I wish to pay fair price for every value. If I have to pay for it or earn it, that makes something of me. If I get it for free, that makes nothing of me. All values must be won by contest, and after they have been won, they must be defended.”
All of this will cause you to change the way you look at things; causing the things you look at to change for you.
Every time a value is born, existence takes on a new meaning; every time one dies, some part of that meaning passes away. Joseph Krutch.
Here’s to your success!
“We can be depended on to tell you what you don't want to hear, to help you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be” Executive Toolkit