Perspectives

Perspective colour pictureOur daughter is travelling in New Zealand and but for a sudden change of mind would have been in Christchurch yesterday when the powerful earthquake erupted. On hearing of the quake we experienced a short period of sharp worry, then a happy release when we heard she was okay. Life looked very different for that short period of not knowing.

“That certainly puts things in perspective!” we sighed with relief as we marvelled at her fortunate change of plan. And it did; our perspective changed utterly during those moments of uncertainty – what really mattered stood out with new prominence – it was like redrawing our map of the world.

Once we have genuinely different perspectives we are much better equipped to respond usefully to situations. We cannot trust just our own perspective – as is illustrated in yet another of my favourite visual illusions here.

At our Communication and Relationships workshop last week we did a familiar exercise on changing perspective. We looked at a relationship from our own point of view, from the other person’s point of view and from other perspectives as well. Afterwards – as often happens – someone commented that they thought they already knew what it was like from the other person’s point of view, but when they actually did the exercise their experience was wholly different and unexpected. What they thought they knew was not the case at all. We often imagine we are including other points of view in our thinking when we aren’t really. Have you ever said to yourself, “I know he thinks that I think that he thinks I’m a…?”!

Once we have genuinely different perspectives we are much better equipped to respond usefully to situations. We cannot trust just our own perspective – as is illustrated in yet another of my favourite visual illusions here.

Chequer board illusionObserve the small grey squares at the intersections of the larger black squares. Actually, they are not there! There are no small grey squares. Your eyes are creating the illusion. Funnily enough, each grey square is there until you really focus on it individually – as you change your perspective it dissolves.

(If you like visual illusions, try this moving pink dots one too, following the instructions below the picture: http://lightisreal.com/lightillusion.html.)

If you constantly trust only your own perspective you can get things so wrong! This was beautifully illustrated by the reaction of a BaMbuti pygmy called Kenge in the 1950s. The anthropologist Colin Turnbull describes what happened when he took Kenge out of the dense forest where he had lived his whole life without distant views and showed him the plains stretching far into the distance below:

“Kenge looked over the plains and down to where a herd of about a hundred buffalo were grazing some miles away. He asked me what kind of insects they were, and I told him they were buffalo, twice as big as the forest buffalo known to him. He laughed loudly and told me not to tell such stupid stories, and asked me again what kind of insects they were. He then talked to himself, for want of more intelligent company, and tried to liken the buffalo to the various beetles and ants with which he was familiar.” (Turnbull 1963)

sorry I shouted

NLP is all about redrawing our personal maps. Many (I would even say most) processes in NLP training are based on insights gained from a change of perspective. By perspective I do not refer just to looking but to evidence from the other senses as well. The kinaesthetic sense – feeling – is particularly important in this regard.

Sometimes in a course I will explain a concept and a participant will respond intellectually, “I get it.” Then they go off and have a practical experience of what we were talking about, and they come back and their physiology is different, their voice is different, the look in the eye is different; and they then say “I get it” from a completely different – deeper – place. That’s “getting it in the muscle.”

Feeling is often the crucial factor in being able to adopt a genuinely different perspective. It may happen that I’m able to see what you are going through; I can hear what’s going on for you. But when I step into your shoes and feel your perspective, ah, then I get it – in a much more settled way. And what I “get” is often very different from what I thought it would be – even oddly counter-intuitive at times. It doesn’t just add to my learning; it changes my learning.

           “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”  Arthur Schopenhauer

          “A penny will hide the biggest star in the Universe if you hold it close enough to your eye.”  Samuel Grafton

Voice of Influence Workshop – 31 March–1 April

Interesting stuff…

The Voice of Influence workshop is coming up again in a couple of weeks. If there were ever an area where understanding the theory and getting it in practice were different public speaking is it. You tell yourself that you don’t need to shake from fear and then you shake anyway – it can be so frustrating! Getting it in the muscle in this workshop is such a relief for people and so effective too. It’s great to witness the changes that are achieved.

Leadership & Influence Workshop – 17-18 March

This workshop – which contributes towards the Diploma in NLP –also explores differences between thinking and doing. You will learn how to walk the talk as a leader and thus build a strong inner sense of confidence. You will also learn some great models of leadership, including systems thinking (see my last newsletter on babies being thrown out with the bath water in organisational change).

The workshops are friendly, lively and strongly focused. If you want to make changes you will make them here. Look at www.voiceofinfluence.co.uk for more information or contact me directly – I’m always happy to talk about your ideas and aspirations.

Coaching

I am more and more convinced by the art of coaching as an effective means of fulfilling your life’s promise. We all get stuck at times, and coaching is the best un-sticker I know!  But it’s also a great tool for highly successful people to step into the exceptional.

Most coaching clients arrange a short series of sessions – perhaps 4 or 6 – to achieve a particular set of outcomes.

What might you use coaching for? All sorts of reasons! Maybe one of the following?

  • To find out what you want and move towards it, e.g. clarify a career direction
  • To sort out some relationship(s) and move forward; to create new relationships
  • To prepare yourself for promotion, an interview, a conference, a bid
  • To move through personal blocks that are holding you back
  • To improve your performance in terms of leadership, management, personal organisation, confidence, impact etc.
  • To dream of the impossible, make it possible, and achieve it.

Richmond NLP Group – http://www.richmondnlpgroup.org.uk/

Do you know about this popular group? – they get some great speakers and sessions are interactive (to persist with my theme of getting it in the muscle). Next month’s session on Thursday 24th March features Arielle Essex talking about The Paradigm Shift – Turning Problems into Gifts – should be good! Contact Henrietta@RichmondNLPGroup.org.uk to sign up and for further information.

Go well!

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