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Tag perception

When you’re expecting

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There was a study done some years back. A group of teachers and a group of kids. Now the teachers were told they had exceptional teaching skills. They were also told the kids were gifted.

Bullsh*t really, they were all picked at random.

Needless to say at the end of the project, the teachers reported exceptional performance in the kids. But they were nothing extraordinary. Just normal kids doing their thing. Only difference was the teachers had high expectations. Believing in their ability and treating them accordingly.

Bottom line… performance was high, because expectations were high.

So if you really want to live a great life, it makes sense to understand what your expectations are, doesn’t it.

Do you expect life to be easy or do you expect life to be hard?

Do you expect to be rich or do you expect to struggle?

Do you expect to love your work or hate it while you sell your soul?

Do you expect to be healthy or fall apart as you age?

And what do you expect for those you love?

Because without a doubt, our expectations affect our experience. And the experience of those around us. It’s all about perception.

Perhaps it’s time to shift your expectations…

Go Fish!

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Did you hear they’ve banned goldfish bowls in Italy?

Yep, I’m serious. In the northern Italian region of Monza, home to Italy’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, they’ve banned their citizens from keeping goldfish in bowls.

Why?

Because, they argue, a fish kept in a bowl has a distorted view of reality… and suffers because of this.

Go figure.

Because how many people around us have a distorted view of reality? Carrying around their own goldfish bowl of suffering.

But perhaps there is something about fish.

In an experiment years ago they placed a large fish in an aquarium with plenty of little fish to feed on. And eat it did. Until the heartless researchers placed a glass partition in the tank dividing it in two, splitting the big fish off from his food source. And of course he put up a protest. Thrashing around, banging the glass… until he realized his efforts were in vain. So he gave up. Only thing is the researchers removed the glass partition when he wasn’t looking. And the little fish began swimming all around him again. But he didn’t touch them. So convinced was he that they were beyond his reach. And so he starved to death in a sea of food.

Conditioned to believe it was impossible.

That easily.

We can’t be that stupid… can we?

 

Emotional Congruence

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So we know that emotions are contagious. But did you know our emotions directly affect what we see in the world? And our actual experience of it.

Take two people. One happy, one sad. Show them 50 slides of mixed emotional content. And then ask them to remember what they saw. The happy person remembers more of the happy slides. And of course the sad person… you fill it in.

Both potentials are there but the emotion is like wearing a pair of glasses that let’s you only see half the view.

And it’s because of this thing called emotional congruence. Which means we pay selective attention to our world dependent on how we feel. In plain English, we focus on the stuff around us that mirrors how we’re feeling on the inside. So if we’re feeling crappy we see more of the crappy dark side of life. Things look blacker so to speak. But if we’re feeling more positive, we see more beauty. And our creative self comes out to play. It’s quite something to think that we all live in the same world but our emotions determine what we see and how we experience it.

And instead of realising the world is just reflecting what’s inside, the temptation is to play the blame game. Gathering evidence to justify why we feel the way we do. Creating a story.  Giving away our power. Rather than seeing that it’s because we feel lousy we are necessarily experiencing more of the negatives in life.  And it can become a downward spiral.

Because these moods affect the way we think too. In a study out of UNSW, they talked to people who’d just been to the movies. Some people saw happy movies, some people saw sad or more aggressive movies. And then they asked them questions about things like the future, about their quality of life. Needless to say those who saw the happier movie were more optimistic than those who saw the sad or more aggressive movies.

And I’m sure everyone’s experienced  at some time or another how much how we feel influences our perception of ourselves and others…

So if you want the opportunities that come with a positive mindset, it’s important to get yourself around happier people and be aware of the mood you’re in when you’re making those important decisions. Because creating happiness is a choice that we make minute to minute and day to day.

So where can you bring greater happiness into your life?

 

The Game of Life

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Sometimes it’s the splash that gets in our eyes. And we just can’t see clearly. Can’t see what’s happening right in front of us. Or why things are happening the way they are. Not just our beliefs blinding us, but life’s unfolding. And I find it always helps to get another perspective.  To distance ourselves so we can see things more clearly from different angle.

I learned this lesson years ago when I was coaching a kids water polo team. And I just couldn’t understand why the kids couldn’t understand what I was saying. Couldn’t see what I was seeing. It went a bit like this. There I was in the stands watching the game unfold below. But the kids had a different perspective. They were so highly involved down in the game. Going through the motions. Surrounded by waves of water. Trying not to drown in the process of scoring goals. Sounds a bit like life, doesn’t it.

And then one day it dawned on me that I had to show them the game as I was seeing it. So I got them all out of the pool and up in the stand. All save one kid.  I left him in the water with instructions to do his thing. And in that moment everyone could see what I had been seeing. ‘So that’s what Steve’s doing!’ And it all became suddenly very clear to them.

Would it surprise you to know those kids went on to be runner’s up in the School Boys State Knockout? How’s that for performance. Second out of every high school in the entire state just by getting a different perspective.

Where do you need to shift your focus?