It is interesting isn’t? That I now spend a lot of my time looking at things from others persectives that it may be holding me back in some ways… Almost to the extent where our currently controversial sprinter Dwayne Chambers may have hypnotised me!
Let me explain, in modern personal development and in the field of NLP, we refer to taking an alternative perceptual position and I was reading a great blog entry by Michael White over at his blog KnowMoreTrances this morning. He articulates very well what is meant by that and you’ll all know I have written about this many times before.
I want to make a slightly different point today though… It is all well and good thinking you are taking on that persons percetual position, that is; it is all well and good thinking you are seeing the world from their point of view, however, we can never be truly in their perspective, can we?
We are not truly knowing their thought processes, beliefs, values and perception of the event, we are taking on their perception and their perspective but it is being filtered through our own brain — our values, preconceived ideas, our own percetion of who and how they are — based upon what we have consciously and unconsciously picked up from them.
Of course, we gain insight and some valuable insight at that, particularly when looking at ourselves rom anothers point of view, this is incredibly valuable. Just be aware of knowing yourself well enough to know how you can ‘contaminate’ the process of doing so, because you cannot avoid doing so.
Let me give you a topical example of what I am talking about… Some might say that Dwayne Chambers has hypnotised me.
How?… Well, the debate is raging on here in the UK about the athlete Dwayne Chambers. He is a sprinter that was banned from athletics for having tested positive for banned performance-enhancing substances. He got a two year ban. Now that two year ban is up, he has come back to the sport following an unsuccessful venture into American Football. And last week, he won (quite convincingly I hasten to add) the qualification race to enter the Great Britain team and represent us in the world indoor athletics championships.
Whoa! Did ever it spark some debate!? (Similar debate had about US sprinter Marion Jones I believe)
Atheltes that I thought had passed away have re-emerged in the media and are giving their opinion on his matter. Many heroes of UK atelehtics are saying he should be banned for life. He is being pilloried more than anyone ever before him in this field. By the letter of the law, he has every right to return — he has served his ban and should be allowed back. The governing bodies have said they have no choice in the matter and have to select him, but openly state they don’t want him there and the debate hots up…
So, I have found myself bucking the general tide of opinion in the country because I feel for the guy. That is, I feel sorry for the way everyone is laying in to him. I have stepped into his perceptual position, I have taken on his perspective and I feel for him.
Whoa for the second time… Hang on there Adam… What I have actually been doing is imagining how I would feel in that position and not imagining how he feels — or how he thinks, what he believes etc, etc. He could be thinking and believing a great many different things that I suspect or sense.
I think I have a good insight into how he feels, I just am not sure that my entire feeling on the matter is authentically his experience.
My point today, is that of course, we should all look at altering our perceptual positions, yet I also think we need to recognise that we influence all that we learn from doing so because it is all filtered through our own mind during the entire process.