You’ve Lost Touch With Reality

I make cold-calls. I almost never reach the person who I really want to talk with on the first try. Thankfully, a lot of the business that I can really help still have actual people answering the phones. I love it when this happens. First, I get to talk with an actual person. Second, the person answering the phone can usually help me. Not only can they give me insight into who I might want to talk with, but they usually have some insight into whether or not it’s worth it for me to keep reaching out. They know if their company’s leadership is open to new ideas. I want to hear what they have to say, and so I always make a point to engage these people.

On Friday, a woman answered the phone and, after I explained why I was calling she said, “That sounds really great! I’ll be happy to pass your message along, but my opinion doesn’t matter.”

That was a really odd thing to say, since I had just told her that I would be really interested in her opinion. I told her as much, and invited her to look at how that view might affect her actions. She laughed. I laughed. I got her email and sent her some information so she could pass it along for me.

And now we’ve made it around to the title of this post. We all have a view. We have a view of the world, and we have a view of ourselves in the world. As much as it looks as though our view of the world is actually the world – in other words, it appears that when I am viewing the world that I am seeing the world – our view of the world is not the world. I could bore you with reams of empirical evidence that this is the case, but I want you to just trust me on this. When we look at the world, what we see isn’t the world – our seeing is a behavior in the world. And as a behavior, it impacts and shapes our other behaviors. My admin friend had a view of herself that her opinion doesn’t matter. With that view, given the opportunity, she doesn’t share it.

The trouble with these views is that, as human beings we aren’t really designed to see them as views; we are designed to think that we are objectively seeing the world. However, with practice, you can challenge your view, and challenging your view is where you’ll innovate, it’s where you’ll have breakthroughs, and it’s where you’ll really find excitement, aliveness, and fulfillment.

This week, I want you to practice discovering your view of the world (and yourself in it) as just that – a view. This week, look at what you say to yourself and others about

  • How the world is
  • How your workplace is
  • How the people in your workplace are
  • How I am

And then look at your other behavior. What you’ll discover is that almost all of your actions are consistent with that view being true and you take almost no action that would run counter to that view.

What you should also discover is that you’ll argue for your view. You might notice, “I’m saying they don’t listen…” and the next moment, “but that’s true; they really don’t.” When that happens, take a step back and look at your other actions. How do you behave, given your view, that might have the person on the other end of you behave as they do. Be willing to discover something.