While gassing up on a road trip, my friends and I found ourselves unable to pay due to an AWOL gas station attendant. Here’s what happened next.
Isn’t it amazing how perception shapes reality? Each of us at that gas station came to a different conclusion based on what we thought. Sounds obvious and yet the truth is, thoughts are often unconsciously determined by experiences. For example, I thought he quit due to the Great Resignation based on my experience in HR (we did this road trip last year. You can click here for the full account).
The way you see things matters. That’s why it’s important to develop awareness around your thoughts. Not to start judging them but to become consciously aware of your inner chatter. Once I saw that I unconsciously chose my perspective based on my experiences, I could see how easy it is to make assumptions that everyone sees things the same way as I do.
Seeing multiple perspectives besides your default (largely unconscious) viewpoint starts with you. You can learn new perspectives from listening to other people, as I’ve discussed before. You can also develop them by choosing to see things differently – thinking new thoughts or revising the ones you have.
Change your thoughts (perceptions) and you will change your emotions and, ultimately, your actions. Despite what you may think, your emotions drive your actions, not the other way around. You make decisions primarily with your emotions then support it with rationale, revised thought processes, and justifications afterward.
Remember the sticky note the gas attendant left on the door? Think of your own sticky note. What thought or perception do you hold dear that you want to “quit?”
Identify your default thought, find other perspectives on it, pinpoint the emotion behind it, and then carry out the action. Quick tip: if you feel good, you’re on the right track because emotions drive your actions. If you don’t feel good, return to step 1.