You Find What You Look For

As they say, perception is reality. We often think of this as managing other people’s perceptions of us or our efforts. We can also change our own reality by changing our own perceptions and what we seek out.

The Phenomenon

Remember when you were thinking of buying a new car? You went through ads, looked up specs, perused photos, and visited car lots. And then something strange happened. Apparently half of your home town started driving that same car. “Wow!”, you say to yourself, “Everyone’s getting one of these.”

You may or may not be riding some wave of popularity with this vehicle. Odds are, the cars were already on the street before you began your search for a new car. Now that you’re focused on it, however, you actually take notice of that car on the road.

Altering Our Reality

We can influence our reality by changing the things we think about and what we think of those things. To make this mental adjustment may require a leap of faith. We may need to start with an assumption that we go seek evidence of. We can envision a different circumstance.

Our life experience is a string of our own interpretations. Is what just happened a “good” thing or a “bad” thing? This depends a lot on our perception and our goals.

The Best In Others

People become, in a real way, what we think they will become. If we believe in and rely on someone to rise to the occasion, they are drawn to fulfil that destiny and grow to more than they were. If we believe someone is a trouble maker and never quite gets it right, they won’t. Or, at least, in both cases they will fulfill those expectations for us. Our relationship will be as we see it. Parents can do this for children. Leaders can do this for teams.

Imagine a leader that never loses faith in your ability – someone who always believes that you’re willing to play. If you’re not on your game, it’s because of an extenuating circumstance, because in your heart of hearts you really would be performing better if you could. That leader would not give up on you. In fact, he’d never stop being grateful for and relying on your strengths. He would speak positively with you. You would have a great desire to work with and partner with such a leader.

We can see our peers, our own leaders, and our organizations in the same way.

Positive Polyannas

Positive people are sometimes depicted as Polyannas, merely blind to all the problems around them. And those who are naysaying as voicing a more objective, accurate view of the world. They are speaking things as they really are. Their heads are on straight. No one’s fooling them.

So is the glass half full or half empty? At least half full is a measure of what’s actually there. You can actually see, taste it, drink it, use it. There’s more physical reality there than the substanceless empty portion which we could spend energy and focus on instead.

There is a large demand in tech organizations today to hire greater programmer populations. You hear, “We can’t find the devs we need.” But what about those few that you’ve hired in the last days and months? They are present. They are a real part of your team. You can shake their hand. You can build a company with them. You can invest in their lives and talents for your shared good.

Would You Rather?

Don’t turn a blind eye to problems. Growth means learning, and learning often comes from problems and pain. Learning also requires seeing opportunity. We needn’t fixate on problems or wallow in our sour situation. In the words of Gordon B. Hinckley, “I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.”

Would you rather think good of someone? Would you rather enjoy so much that is good around you? Our reality and our experience in it is largely a choice. What reality will you find?

How do you remember to see the good in people?