Thursday, 2 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 5

So, what happens when what you’re experiencing feels uncomfortable? You feel distressed! You will feel sadness or anger or suffering. And the more uncomfortable you feel, the more distress you feel and if that distress gets strong enough it will override any other consideration.

There is another way you can get distressed, and that’s to have a source of comfort taken from you, and if that loss is big enough, the distress will again explode out of you. For example, most people agree that the most stressful thing that can happen to you, the greatest mental anguish of all is bereavement, the death of a loved one. Anyone who has been bereaved will tell you that they will be never be the person they were before being bereaved. Why is this important? Because it will affect your performance as a business person.

In your life, you will have several big experiences, and what makes them big is the degree of comfort or discomfort you experienced. A really crucial time is between 4 and 8 years old. In this period a phenomenon known as imprinting takes place. What you experienced then is having a direct impact on your business right now. A large part of your emotional responses to situations now was first moulded back then. You see, at that age, you have mastered language, so now you can give things labels like good and bad.

You have a bad experience at that age, and everything to do with that experience will be labelled bad. And similarly everything associated with really good experience will be labelled good. This is why ordinary objects and situations can evoke really powerful emotions, because you associate that situation or object with a traumatic or exciting event. And the bad news is that once that association has been imprinted, it is not easily shifted.

With experience comes ideas, mental maps of how things are in relation to each other, and ideas get built into beliefs, mental maps of how the universe behaves. All these beliefs are built into our concept of reality. So you may be able to see straight away that reality is not objective - we don’t all experience the same reality, we all experience an individual reality which even at best has only some things in common with others.

Now, if you’re a fairly observant person, you may also see that there’s a recipe for conflict brewing up here, because quite often there is a mismatch between how we’re told it is and what we personally have experienced, between what we’re told is important and what you think is important, between how we’re told it feels and how it feels to you, and that conflict is going to undermine your performance in a team.

If you are familiar with computers, you will know that a picture file is not just stored as a picture. It comes with tags. These tags can tell you the format of the picture, the size, the number of individual pixels, who created it, when they created it and so on. In the same way, every word you hear now, every experience you have now, is evoking some kind of feeling. Exactly what is being evoked depends not only on how something is communicated, but on your beliefs, which depend entirely on your ideas, which depend entirely on your unique individual experiences, so no wonder that people misunderstand each other so often.

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