The Way We See The World
Stephen Covey, author of the brilliant book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and a really smart, insightful fella, once said:
We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms.
Whether positive or negative, we all create our perceptions of the world and gather evidence to prove to ourselves that our perceptions are true. I’m an eternal optimist and usually choose to find the positive in things.
Because of what Covey and I believe, when interviewing people for jobs, I try not to hire people who are inherently negative. That negativity will eventually have a negative impact on the business. Even if they have periodic bursts of positivity, negative people are negative and not always the best in high pressure situations.
I have a friend who is inherently a pessimist. “I’m not really a pessimist,” she tells me. “A bunch of times I’m really optimistic about things.”
But she’s wrong – because being inherently pessimistic doesn’t mean you never have bursts of optimism. Somebody who is a nice person is allowed to be mean every now and then because you know they are going to go back to being a nice person. That is, inherently, who they are.
Our core behavior will not change. Or, at least, it will not change quickly and suddenly without a good reason.
The Way You Do One Thing
The way a person does one thing, is the way they do everything.
This is an important point and the entire purpose of where I’ve been leading us, so let me repeat it but put it in bigger quote-like text
The way a person does one thing, is the way they do everything
Show me a person who lied to make themselves look better, and I guarantee you that person will lie again when put in a corner. Conversely, show me a person who voluntarily tells the truth even though it could make them look bad or get them in trouble, and there’s a person with honesty who can do hard things.
If you send unprofessional business emails with a lot of typos, you’re probably careless in other ways and lack attention to detail.
If you regularly show up late to meetings, you likely miss deadlines on other projects and don’t have a great respect for other people’s time.
If you are calm in a crisis situation, you will probably be a level-headed leader when confronted with time pressures.
If you excel at crafts and design, you will probably bring creative thinking to situations.
Which reminds me again of the vegetable peeler I keep bringing up.
Just like every other example above, when we are confronted with the decision of which vegetable peeler to purchase, we will naturally opt for the one that best matches our personality. To repeat what Covey said, “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are” and so even in such seemingly mundane tasks as buying a vegetable peeler, we can understand human behavior.
The way we do one thing is the way we do everything.
So if you see questionable behavior in a colleague or employee that you decide to push aside, don’t push it too far. Pay attention and see if that behavior reveals itself in different ways. Listen to your gut, and see where it takes you.
Oh, and maybe ask everybody to share a picture of their vegetable peeler.