Heard this question before?
What are mental filters? What is habitual thinking? Thinking habits? Can you change the way you make decisions?
I was watching a movie with my wife a few days ago. I don’t think I was paying much attention (nothing new for me…), but I do remember the girl saying that a tiger cannot change his spots. She had my attention for a while (however brief).. Then my thoughts wandered off on how she got to that statement. (I am not going to challenge anyone’s mental capacity here.) You see, everything is wrong with that statement! Tigers have stripes! Leopards have spots.
So, can a leopard change his spots, then?
No… but the phrase generally refers to a person who cannot change his/her behavior, thinking patterns, etc.
Can a person change? I believe so.
But, before you can do that (make a change), you will want to know what to change, and how. Right? A while ago, I wrote about the 4 Survival needs (it was brief, and it will turn out a great discussion in the future). In case you missed it, here is the link.
Okay, so you’re caught up? Back to the tiger’s spots…
Before you (or me) can change in any way, we need to ask: “How available am I?” How available are you to change? What if you discover things about yourself you do not like?
So, now you are rehearsing the answer in your head…
So, why is it that you try to change, but just can’t? You have tried so many times in the past. Every New year it is on the top of your list. You try. You really do. But by day 3 you conclude that a leopard really cannot change his spots.
What if I told you that you are stuck in perceptions?
The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. The way YOU see life. Life through your eyes. What gave you the perceptions you have about life, people, religion, relationships, business, etc.
I am not going to tell you here that all you ever believed and did is completely wrong. I am not saying you are a bad husband, father, or businessman. (mother, wife, businesswoman).
What I am asking is, what if you understand your own perceptions and those of others better?
What if you can understand how you make decisions in life? Based on what? How will that affect all your relationships (life, people, religion, business, etc)? What if you understand why people make decisions you think is just completely stupid?
Let me explain:
Every person creates perceptions over years of life. Every person is different. Ever hear the saying: “walk a mile in my shoes”? I read one recently that explains me better: Don’t walk a mile in my shoes, spent a few minutes in my head…
Then we will see if you still come to the same conclusions you do now. (And vice-versa off course.)
Destructive patterns of Habitual thinking.
I think you should read that again.
Your habitual thinking has formed you over the years. We all know that one guy. The one who sees a big, dark cloud on a silver lining. That Negative Guy. Ever thought why? Why is he always complaining that the sky will fall on our heads? Where does he draw those conclusions from? Maybe you are That Guy…
So, why does nothing ever work out for That Guy? And if something good does come along, like a new job, why does it go sour after a while? More or less the time when everyone around you see your true spots? The complaining, negative you…
Here is how we think… (or rather, come to conclusions)
Everything you perceive, gets filtered through your filters. These filters were created by events, words or actions from your past. So, every time you need to act, react, converse, or decide, it runs through these filters. So, right now, you are imagining a filter coffee machine with life (the water) poured in at the top. Now the water runs through the fine sieve filter with the powder of your past.
(So, now that the smell encouraged you to get up and you are back with a cuppa, we can continue. After all, what is a good read (great read) without a good cup of freshly brewed coffee?)
The coffee (outcome) is being processed… It runs through a few of these filters in a very short time to process the outcome. This outcome may be a reaction, words, decision, thoughts, etc. There are a few such filters, but we will discuss one or two at a time to give you time to filter what I’ve said…
In the next few posts, I will discuss each in more detail. If you understand mental filters, I guarantee it will change your life. No, it is not a get rich quick scheme! But the possibilities are endless. What if you can understand people better just by understanding how they get to the things they say and do? In turn, how will that affect the way they see you? (How will that be for business?)
What makes people tick?
The customer is always right.
You and I both know it is as far from the truth as the East from the West. I have chased many guys from my range (yes, I provide firearm training. I am a lead service provider and supply firearm training material to many other centers). We (my wife and I) own a shooting range. Every now and again we will get a guy (sometimes a gal, but they are not generally as arrogant) that will stand in my shop and tell me he has no time to attend the firearms course, he was in the army and can shoot, and he does not have time to write the test. He needs a new rifle before hunting season and will pay extra to attend the course in absentia. Mr. Army usually wears a two-tone Khaki shirt and has a “well-groomed” beard dripping of “beard oil”. (But that is not always the case. Chancers come in all shapes and sizes.)
That is my trigger…
You see, it is simple mathematics…
How can I ask God to bless my business if I know I am chasing a quick buck by assisting this guy?
So, my first question usually is: “If you don’t have time to write the test, how on earth will you find the time to go hunting?”
The older guys usually give me an answer: “I was in the bush war while you were still wearing nappies!” Now, his statement is not completely true. I was stuck behind a desk, trying to pay attention in school. (The days I did attend…). Luckily, I did, because now I get to write blogs an communicate with you.
Anyway, I like those answers. My next question will be: “That’s nice. How many terrorists did you shoot?” Can you claim the hit?”
OOPS! By now he is wild with rage, but somehow something is preventing him from launching a full-on physical attack. Then he says: ” I was an instructor in the army!”
Me: ” but the army only trains infantry with rifles. You want to do shotgun and handgun course as well…”
So, before my customer throws the “the customer is always right” card, I provide him with this statement. Now keep in mind that not all who want shortcuts will play the “I was in the army while you were in nappies” card. Some are younger than me. Yes, I am no longer getting out of bed without sound effects.
All these guys think they can just buy the certificate, and everyone has a price. So, before the conversation gets physical, I ask: ” How can I expect God to bless my business if I know I am doing the wrong thing by helping you?”
Guess the outcome…
I have stopped instigating an argument with these guys (even it is fun sometimes). I just ask the above question upfront when the conversation starts turning the “turn a blind eye” route. That question is like a light switch. Whatever hope he has (or had) of getting a certificate for an “in absentia” course, was just switched off. In the darkness, the whole idea just blew out the front door with him normally taking the lead and the idea he had becomes the tail between a dog’s legs in the quick get-away.
So, what makes these guys think everyone has a price? Do you have a price?
What amount will you sell your integrity for?
The simplest explanation of integrity I ever heard, and made my own, is: Doing the right thing, especially when no one is watching.
So, the above story will let you think. How does this guy walk into your shop and think that he can wave his magic wand and get what he wants?
“Do you know who I am?!”
Shame, the poor guy lost his identity… (if he doesn’t know who he is, how is going to get home?)
What filters does his thoughts run through?
• Over Generalizing:
I think the word Over Generalizing makes a statement of its own. Don’t you think so?
This guy walks into my shop, thinking that he can demand a certificate when he offers extra cash under the table. He thinks that everyone’s integrity has a price. On the opposite side, I tell my staff that everyone is willing to pay the extra under-the-table fee to get things done quickly without having to study. So, who is at fault here?
Me or him?
Both it is then. Although we live in a corrupt world, there are still a few that just cannot be bought. Whatever the price.
Integrity cannot be bought! Or sold. True integrity, I mean. Honesty is also a thing of the past. Nobody speaks the truth anymore. The world has gone to sh……
(No, you thought wrong. You will notice that the SH has 6 dots. So, NO. I did not write the first word that came to (your) mind.
Now stop over-generalizing!
Sh…… ambles! The world had gone to SHAMBLES.
I have a question for you:
How many people have you judged wrong by over-generalizing? How many times have you made the wrong assumptions because of it?
By the way, my statement above of “Honesty is also a thing of the past. Nobody speaks the truth anymore,” is also a generalization. So is “All blacks are criminals.”
How dare we think that? So, all whites aren’t? All whites are honest law-abiding citizens. You read that out loud and hear the sound of the buzzer. You know, the TV game show buzzer sounding the terrible alarm to the audience that your answer is WRONG. I have had many people from many cultures and colors try to bribe me. (Yes, mostly whites.)
Over-generalization is a common judgment tool we use to ‘sum someone up”.
What you can do this week
So, for this week, I have homework for you.
- Think about the role Over-generalization plays in your life. Can you change the way you see the world, or other people if you can stop doing it?
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In the next post we will continue with the Mental Filters.
Ever thought about labeling? Or self-labeling?
That is only the tip of the iceberg.
How attentive are you to how people respond to you? How will your employees respond to you if they feel you understand where they are coming from?
Do you get where I’m coming from?
I look forward to seeing you in the next post. The subscription to the newsletter will keep you notified.