Decisions, decisions, decisions. We are constantly making decisions. Have you ever considered what influences your decisions? Your perspective of the situation or circumstance has considerable influence on the choices you make. As I launch this blog my aim is to draw awareness to the significance of perspective and how perspective management can enhance the quality of your life. The principle underlying perspective management is referred to as reframing – the ability to take any circumstance, no matter how traumatic, and turn it into something life productive. I’ll pick an issue of the day, offer some clever (my opinion) reframes and share some tools for managing perspective. I am anxious to receive your comments and feedback. I begin.
Reframing the COVID shutdown
An opportunity to tell your future grandchildren how you survived the toilet paper crisis of 2020
Come to realize that you really do need a hobby
Chance to make a fortune in the personal protective equipment marketplace
Opportunity to paint your garage that you have been putting off for 26 years
It’s been a very interesting few months. After publishing two books in 2019, I was ready to hit the lecture circuit this spring to spread the word on perspective management and how to create a harmonious, multi-generational workplace. That plan was derailed by a microscopic organism at a time when understanding the art of perspective management could have really been helpful. The underlying principle of perspective management is that when a person can’t control the circumstances in life they always have a choice for how they look at them. I think we all have experienced a major dose of circumstances which have been beyond our control. While I can’t change that I can try to use this as an opportunity to make a difference. Thus, I embarking on a journey I never imagined taking. I am going to try to “blog.”
I want to help people understand and utilize the skills of perspective management to improve their quality of daily living. I plan to focus on every day issues that most of us encounter. The issues will provide a forum to help us examine
1. What influences our decision making?
2. Why we choose to react the ways we do?
3. How we feel about the results?
4. What alternatives are available?
The philosophy behind perspective management is a concept known as reframing. Reframing is the ability to take any experience, no matter how traumatic, and turn it into something life productive. Not necessarily positive, rather life productive. COVID is an experience that has had impact on everyone in many different forms.
Please take a moment to formulate your perspective on COVID-19. What did you come up with?
Here are some randomly selected perspectives. Microscopic organism that is highly contagious in adults, pandemic killer, inconvenience, just the latest version of the flu, a plague, germ warfare, political maneuvering, population control, evidence of the presence of aliens, ….
For perspective management, what a person thinks is less significant than why a person thinks it.
Consider these examples:
If you tell me that COVID is dangerous and I believe what you are telling me, I exercise caution.
If you tell me that COVID is dangerous and I don’t believe you know what you are talking about, I ignore your warning.
If you tell me that COVID is dangerous, I believe you, but I don’t consider myself to be at risk, I see no need to take any precautions.
I could go on and on with examples. Although the information was the same in each example, once it is interpreted by the individual, different perspectives result. Perspective influences a person’s decision making and behavior. Due to the fact that each person has a different personality make-up and life experiences a group of individuals could hear the same information at the same time from the same source and develop vastly different perspectives on what they heard and what they think it meant.
In developing skills for perspective management each person needs to be curious about what factors contribute to their forming an opinion. There are many common factors as well as factors unique to each person. Common factors generally range across a continuum. Consider the following examples:
Perceived validity of information
Strong affirmative impact: Extensive research
Strong resistive impact: Wild guess
Confidence in the source of information
Strong affirmative impact: Responsible journalism
Strong resistive impact: Fake news
Perceived sense of vulnerability
Strong affirmative impact: Medically challenged senior
Strong resistive impact: Young and healthy
Desire for peer acceptance
Strong affirmative impact: Socially dependent
Strong resistive impact: Rebellious spirit
The extreme aspects of the range have the greatest impact on decision making. Consider sense of vulnerability.
Why would a senior with health issues living in a COVID hot spot city refuse to take precautions? On face value it doesn’t appear to be a logical decision, but it is apparent that something is affecting their perspective.
Why would a healthy person living in the rural Midwest be driving with a mask on with no one else in the vehicle? They must perceive some kind of risk, are fantasying about being an outlaw, or some other perspective.
Decision making is a direct result of perspective and yet most decisions are made with little to no consideration as to what is influencing that perspective. That would make sense when decisions work out well. When life doesn’t seem to be going well, it would seem that each of us would want to figure what was going on and what we could do about it. Surprisingly few actually invest the energy to chart a different course. In business there is a constant evaluation of what is working and what could improve outcomes. In personal life some are more likely to blame hard times on fate, bad luck, obstacles created by others, feel helpless and remain stuck repeating dysfunctional patterns of decision making and behavior.
One value of perspective management is taking control of the decision-making process. When decisions work out well, determine what is contributing to the outcome and repeat it in similar circumstances. When decisions create challenges, evaluate what may be contributing and try something different.
Remember the emphasis is on curiosity rather than analysis. There will be many times when it is unclear what works and what gets in the way of desired outcomes. Everything becomes a learning experience
Take a few minutes and make a list of recent decisions. Divide them into two categories: decisions that worked out well and decisions that I wanted to work out better. Look at the process that lead up to the decision. Figure out what you do well and where you want to make some changes. Put your change plan into practice and see if you can get a better result.
I opened with some reframing of the COVID shutdown. The painting of the garage was part of my adjustment to the challenges I created in response to the shutdown. To counteract my boredom, I went in search of a project where I could feel a sense of accomplishment with a tangible outcome. Fortunately, I had procrastinated in painting the garage that had been dry-walled since we moved in 26 years ago. I justified my behavior by getting rid of five cans of left-over paint. I added the accent wall to give anyone who knows my attitude toward decorating a good laugh and I kept the negativity beast on the run.
My plan is to write something a few times each month. My next entry will focus on influencing perspective. Each time I will focus on a different aspect of perspective management. I hope you will visit occasionally, send me your thoughts on the subject, and I especially look forward to seeing your reframes of challenges you encounter.
For information about I K.A.N. Presentations and my two new publications please visit www.ikan2.com.
“If You’re Not Having, Fun You’re Doing It Wrong: The Art of Perspective Management”
“Conquering the Generational Challenge: Creating a Harmonious and Productive Workplace” co-authored with David Butler