Did you know that you’re continually choosing to ignore some things and emphasize others? Every day, you’re using what’s called “preferred perception,” and it’s a good thing you are! When crossing a busy street you’d better choose to pay attention to the traffic, and not the aroma wafting from the Italian bistro or the yapping little dog on the corner.
Unfortunately, we do this even when we don’t need to. You might enter a room and choose to notice the beautiful flooring and the people in the room, or you might decide to notice the dust in the corner and the way the molding doesn’t quite fit around the door. You can see a beautiful day with flowers smiling in the sunshine, or choose to focus on the weeds growing in the yard.
We all use preferred perception hundreds of times a day, usually without realizing it, and often without consciously controlling it.
Use elective perception to help you
You can start right now to control the way you use preferred perception, particularly where it concerns beliefs about yourself. First, recognize that most of what you assume about your abilities, or lack of them, aren’t necessarily facts cast in bronze. They’re simply beliefs. And beliefs can be changed.
How do I change my beliefs about myself?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I learn quickly?
- Are there examples of times when I learned something quickly?
- Has someone commented on how quickly I picked up on new information?
- Has anyone mentioned that I had a particular skill?
- Has anyone ever noticed that I had a way of dealing with situations effectively?
- Can I set something up or organize it efficiently?
- Whether it was a game, a party, a department, or just a new way of getting something done, was I able to organize it so that it did in fact get done as expected?
- Can I match people to their strengths?
- Have I ever advised anyone that they might be good at something, and it seemed to make sense to them?
- Have I ever assigned people to tasks that they felt were challenging and well suited to their abilities?
- Have I ever trained, developed, or motivated anyone?
- Have I ever trained, developed, or motivated anyone at work? In school? In a club or other social setting? On an athletic team or in some volunteer work?
- Have I ever trained, developed, or motivated my family?
- Are there instances I can remember where I communicated clearly and accurately, so that people understood what I expected of them and what they could expect of me, and where this led to something getting done that needed doing?
- Am I a logical person who has figured out practical, workable solutions to problems?
- Has anyone ever commented on that?
- Have I ever gotten people to interact with one another in harmony, in any sort of work or play?
- Have I ever pulled together a family project?
- Have I ever organized an amateur theater production?
- Have I ever organized a work assignment?
- Have I ever coached or organized a sports team?
- Have I ever pulled together a volunteer effort?
- Have I ever organized a recreational pursuit such as a vacation, or building a small structure?
- Am I creative in some way?
- Have I ever produced anything that required some creativity?
- Have I written something creative?
- Have I ever drew or sculpted? Have I ever written a song or poem?
- Have I ever created a new outlook, or a new way to approach something?
- Have I put two ideas together in a way they hadn’t been connected before?
- Have I ever figured out a way to solve a problem or find a new way of doing things?
- Did I ever think of a new game, or a new way of playing an old game?
- Can I recall instances where people acted in a way that showed they were happy to be working with me?
- Or where they told me directly that they liked to work with me?
- Or that they felt I brought a positive energy to the workplace?
- Do I have any special knowledge, talents, or experience?
- Do I have any special interests?
- Am I good with computers? With cars? With counseling?
- Do I know a lot about a particular market?
- Do I know a lot about certain process, or machine, or software?
- Do I know a lot about antiques?
- Do I know a lot about arranging travel?
- Do I know a lot about nutrition?
- Do I have a knack for sales?
- Do I have a talent for producing something in a low cost way?
- Am I a prolific producer of anything?
- Do I write better than the average person?
- Do I understand compensation systems?
- Am I a good negotiator?
- Am I good at confronting people who need to be confronted?
- Am I good at diplomacy and tact when faced with an issue?
- Do I often tend to make people feel more confident, more peaceful, more invigorated?
- Have I ever brought enthusiasm to some activity?
- Have I ever gotten past a big obstacle?
- Have I ever turned around a difficult situation?
- Have I ever learned from a mistake?
- Have I ever made some changes that weren’t easy?
- Have I ever achieved something that others recognized as requiring persistence and determination?
- In my own mind, can I see how my persistence might make me better able to relate to people, or give me credibility, or help me serve as a role model or set an example for someone?
Choose to look at the positive aspects of your personality and your abilities. Choose to look at the positives in your education, your experience, your achievements, and your future.
Stop looking at what you can’t do, and choose to focus on what you CAN.
Photo by JMRosenfeld