You See Things As You Are – Not as They Are
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” attributed to Anais Nin.
You believe you are the answer.
You see what you look for and defend what you see.
- Organizers see chaos and believe organizing is the answer. A plan is an obligation.
- Mercy-showers see pain and believe in comfort.
- Teachers see ignorance and put confidence in education.
- Helpers see need and frustration and jump in to lend a hand.
- Expediters see delay and find ways to speed things up.
- Visionaries see stagnation and need to try new things. A plan is non-obligatory.
- Doers see projects and plan the path forward.
“Give a boy a hammer and everything he meets has to be pounded.” Abraham Kaplan
You expect others to be like you. Your answer ‘should be’ everyone’s answer.
- To a pusher, the answer is pushing.
- To a mercy shower, the answer is compassion.
- To the compassionate, the answer is joining hands and working together.
- To the administrator, the answer is a sequence of steps.
- To the expediter, the answer is high expectations combined with rewards and punishments.
- To the teacher, the answer is opening minds.
- To the visionary, the answer is moving forward. Plans are nice but not necessary.
- To an organizer, the ultimate sin is disruption.
- To the visionary, the ultimate sin is staying the same.
- To the creative, the ultimate sin is repetition.
- To a person who develops talent, the ultimate sin is telling people what to do.
One challenge of leading is rising above the limitations of yourself.
Tips for seeing:
- Ask others what they see, especially new employees and customers. Believe them.
- When things are stagnant, go with disruption.
- When things are chaotic, go with structure.
How might leaders expand they way the see situations?
Well said, Dan! It is so difficult, and so necessary to hear and understand what others see and how they feel called to respond. It honors them. It helps the team be more collaborative. It increases impact.
Ask your grandson, a policeman, a football coach, an artist, a consultant, a blogger, a lobster woman, and a sales rep what he/she sees?
You are so right with this article! We all think we see clearly, only to learn there are other perspectives. That’s what makes relationships fun and exciting – seeing the same picture from different viewpoints.
“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” This is my favorite quote of all time which makes this very post of yours outstanding. I often reflect back on this quote as I am evaluating situations and I often bring it up when working with teams where difficult paths must be chosen. Thanks for sharing your expanded thoughts on the concept. This quote reminds me to carefully look at a situation and be aware of how my own personal bias might be impacting my perception. It brings to mind the ‘dirty window’ fable, that I’m sure you’re familiar with. Thanks again for sharing.
I really love reading your insightful words. They really allow me to expand my knowledge as well as giving me a new perspective to view the world.
And, as Daniel Kahneman said, “What you see is all there is.”
I love the fact that every different viewpoint is presented in a positive way. It’s so easy to respond with anger, frustration, or disappointment to the differing views in real-life situations where we’re ready to jump in with our well-meaning proposals. Maybe in a situation where other’s perceptions seems like negative push-back — each side should be made to present the position they don’t share in the most positive light possible and see where that leads.
I agree Mary. It is easy to dismiss the views of others if you’re only focussed on your perception of the world and events, or have a mind closed to the possibility that maybe just maybe your approach is t the best.
Perhaps the way forward is to seek to understand the others viewpoints and thoughts, actually listen and expand yourself to understand why they think what they think. Then, humbly, acknowledge that others often have a good approach worth exploring.
I’d suggest this sets aparts the great leaders from the average. Great leaders leverage the thoughts of the diverse team …. average leaders believe only they have the answer.
This stands out; “When things are stagnant, go with disruption”. While the world seems so disruptive these days and one might be tempted to say, “When things are chaotic, go with structure.” I disagree. The world has always been chaotic its just we see it in all it’s glory in 30 seconds when in the past that view was delayed. I see todays’ challenges as disrupting the flow of normal, finding the road less traveled, trying different ideas and pathways as the means to success. This of course upsets the “normal” and the “easy” pathways to business and to relationships and it affects the way “we” see things and “how” we react.
Terrific definition of Blind spots – why we have them and what to do to compensate for them.
Great writing, as usual! Thanks much and best wishes!
From the perspective of the concussive hammer soloist, every problem looks seductively like a frictive nail … challenge the hammerist to screw … and you change their worldview.
Leaders challenge the best to overcome their expertise bias with impossible (i.e. not existing) results, even as they invite them to excel in their specific contributions to a team effort.
The best strategies appeal to the widest number of diverse perspectives at once, and inspire each one to align with the others by sharing the same (synergetic) intent.
It’s not easy to facilitate a large team to a single vision, but – hey, someone’s gotta do it.
Just don’t project your own “stuff” so much, and give each their moment to lead, and amazing things will happen (probably not what you expected … 🙂
Explorers with the ability to Reason! How unique for this plane of reality. My heart and mind leaped at the reading of this.
Shalom my brothers and sisters of Reasoning.
So, what do leaders see?
The best of leaders SEE from the best of perspectives.
But actually innovation happens because someONE person sees something no one else sees. Conversely, in the Jewish culture there is a concept that the Hebrew Bible (Torah) has 70 perspectives, and they are all independently correct.
There is not necessarily a dissonance in what I see v what others see.
Never mind that, the alleged sins are also lacking context.
To the creative, the ultimate sin is repetition – well, no.
In fact to a ‘creative’, repetition is called iteration, a necessary part of getting closer to perfection.
Its the scientific method that says 975 laboratory experiment failures were worth it when success was had at #976.
More mundane is the creation of a World record in long jump, but spending years jumping the sand pit.
Context of the author of the quote I think is warranted. Anais Nin was a bigamous and insestuous writer of erotica. Her life was very much NOT like the lives of most contemporaries, and few would “see things as they are” from her perspective.
This is so good and enlightening. More!