Shifting Your Perception

There are two types of people in this world: those who view the glass as half-full, and those who see the glass as half-empty. This phenomenon is called perception, and our perceptions profoundly impact how we experience life.

There were two brothers in a small village in the Eastern Cape. The twin brothers grew up knowing nothing else but poverty. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother a domestic worker. They grew up with very little.
On their way home one day, their parents were involved in a bus accident and died instantly. The brothers’ condition became even worse. At age 17 they separated. Years and years later a family member decided to find them for a family reunion.

One of the brothers was a wealthy engineer owning a construction company. He had a wife and three beautiful kids. The other was an alcoholic with no sense of direction for his life.
The family member asked the engineer, “How did your life turn out like this?”
“What did you expect with a childhood like mine?” he answered.
She moved on to the other brother with the same question.
“What did you expect with a childhood like mine?” was his answer.

From this story, we can conclude that men are not disturbed by the things that happened but by their perception of the things that happened.

Perception means gathering or receiving. It is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of our personal reality. Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things.

In other words, we believe what we perceive to be accurate, and we create our own realities based on those perceptions.

You must have heard people say your perception is your reality. This is because our perception is based on our mind-constructed model of the world, such that life reflects our held beliefs and opinions. Your perceptions influence all areas of life. The totality of your perceptions— regarding yourself, your life, life in general, others, and so on—creates and impacts your personal reality and ultimately your experience of life. Specifically, your perceptions affect the quality of your experience of life. So, if you perceive things in a positive light, you’ll experience a happier existence, and if your perception of life is negative, it means that for the most part of your life, you will be dealing with lots of negativity.

Past experiences also have the power to influence our perceptions. Suppose you are raised in a poor family with little material possessions to account for. Your constant concern for money leads you to adopt a scarcity mentality. Over time, you develop negative beliefs related to money, since your past was replete with evidence of money being in short supply, but if you were born and raised in a wealthy home, raised in a wealthy family living in an affluent neighborhood: equipped with maids, butlers and a chauffeur, Prosperity, abundance and wealth would be common to your experience given your relationship to wealth. You expect money to be readily available since reality dictates its abundant supply.

How we perceive the world around us directly influences everything we do. Whether we frame a challenge as positive or negative can directly manipulate and influence the outcome of that challenge. If we see ourselves as someone who has little willpower, we’ll likely have a self-fulfilling prophecy and suffer in the willpower department. And it goes beyond how we see ourselves, but also how we perceive objects, other people, and how they perceive us.

How do you perceive rejection, failure, and setbacks?

To some rejection is bad luck, setbacks are spiritual or an omen that you are on the wrong path, and then to some, failure is the end of that goal, dream, and ambition whilst to others, it means another opportunity to try again and again until they achieve success. Ultimately, how we perceive the world and life’s events is what we will get out of it at the end of the day.

Everything can change when we look at things differently. When you change your perception, you will realize that maybe that task wasn’t as difficult as you thought or that boss doesn’t hate you as you assumed or that failure wasn’t to make you give up.

The first step to shifting our negative perception is to identify past experiences that have shaped a negative perception you have and discard those beliefs. It could be your belief that all men are misogynists because you grew up with an abusive father who beat up his wife. Identifying these experiences will free you of its influence. Once you have an experience in mind, identify the limiting beliefs that experience shaped for you and change those beliefs to more positive ones. Constructive perceptions, the tendency to see the good in people, things, or situations, or to view compassionately, spring from positive beliefs. For instance, if you believe the world is an unsafe place, and that love is an illusion, you will likely view people with suspicion, irrespective of their good intention. So, you need to challenge and discard your irrational thoughts and beliefs, for you to change your perceptions for the better.

Secondly, always choose the positive sides of situations. If you look on the bright side, you try to be cheerful about a bad situation by thinking of some advantages that could result from it or thinking that it is not as bad as it could have been. With this mindset, you will not easily perceive failure as the end of the world, rather as an opportunity to do better. Choosing to see the negatives of situations will only help you build negative perceptions from that experience that will linger.

Also, don’t be too quick to form a belief. Sometimes, we jump the gun thinking our mere perception of things is the actual truth. We need to realize that all we have is our perception and not the absolute truth so asking questions like is this really true? Can I look at this another way? Or is there something here that I’m perhaps not seeing? Are all great ways to shift perspectives.

Embracing Networking In 2021

Ever heard the popular quote by Tim Sanders that says your network is your net worth? That is arguable the truest thing you ever heard in your lifetime.

Some people hate it, some people love it, but at least we can all agree: Networking is one of the most important success skills.

“All of the jobs he has gotten have been through friends.” – Jamal’s mother

Jamal is an 18-year-old junior in high school who was interested in finding employment for the summer and weekends. He has a combination of health-related, sensory, and learning disabilities. He began searching for a job on his own by applying at local businesses. Although Jamal sometimes had difficulty filling out the applications, he was able to turn to his mother for help with the hard parts. However, when he put out the applications, he was never called back for a job.

Since he was unsuccessful with the typical application process, Jamal decided to ask friends about job opportunities. Jamal is fortunate in that he has a large, close-knit family and a wide circle of friends. Through the youth group at his church, Jamal was able to meet many people. He became friends with a man who owned a campground, and Jamal began calling him to ask if he needed help with the maintenance there. This led to a permanent part-time job where Jamal worked at the campground on weekends. To make some extra money, Jamal also asked his brother, who is a roofer, if he could come to work with him and help out on the job. This led to another job opportunity and more employment experience.

Jamal was also introduced to a new field through a personal contact who became a mentor to him. Jamal knew that he would like a career that involved helping people but had not considered firefighting until he talked with another friend that he met through his church. His friend was a firefighter, and Jamal thought that his job sounded exciting and that he would like to do that in the future. Although Jamal thinks it will be difficult to pursue that career because of the classes, testing, and paperwork that he will need to go through, his friend (and mentor) will help him to prepare for the necessary training by tutoring him and helping him learn the material.
Jamal’s story shows several advantages of networking.

Another success story that illustrates the power of networking is that of Eloqua and Oracle.

Eloqua, a marketing automation and intelligence platform was sold to Oracle for $871 million back in 2012. A lot of people already know that. But what they may not know is why the whole deal went through so seamlessly; and that was precise because Paul Teshima, one of the founding team had built strong, shared relationships with the people at Oracle. Eloqua was purchased for more than 200 percent of its estimated public market value — for a $400 million-plus increase in shareholder net worth.

Every year, more evidence comes out on the success people have using networking to grow and promote their businesses. For a fact, last year I realized that most career advancement stories I heard happened mostly through networking.
In this era, it is so much about who you know and who knows you and less about what you know—and that’s exactly why being a powerful networker is so important.

Networking isn’t merely the exchange of information with others — and it’s certainly not about begging for favors. Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet, whether you’re waiting to order your morning coffee, participating in an intramural sports league, or attending a work conference. Identifying the places you will meet the kind of people you need and who may need your services or product is a step in the right direction.

Networking, when done skillfully, will not only open the door to plum job opportunities but can also help land new clients and tap talent for future hiring. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back in dividends throughout your career. It will help you develop and improve your skillset, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.

That said, let us not misconstrue networking as an avenue to take from or use people to our advantage. Many people think that as soon as you’ve made a connection with someone and offered a minuscule bit of value, you can immediately get value from them by asking for a favor, connection, etc. One of the biggest networking mistakes people make is jumping the gun when asking for a favor. One cardinal key to successful networking is to give before you can get.

This year, one beneficial thing you can do for yourself and your career is to build a strong chain of a valuable network. To do this, it is advisable to start networking before you need it. Seasoned networkers can smell the stench of desperation from across the room. People can sense when someone is only out to help himself. Tip-offs ranging from a panicked look in the eyes to a portfolio brimming with resumes will send them running in the other direction. On the other hand, by networking when you have no ulterior motive, you can begin to build relationships and a reputation for being generous rather than self-serving.

Secondly, pay it forward. Look for opportunities to provide value to those in your network before you ask for help. The more you invest in your relationships, the more you’ll learn about your new connections and the easier it will be to offer assistance.

Also, follow up. It’s a simple task, yet many professionals neglect this. The time you invested in speaking with someone new won’t benefit your career development if you fail to follow up afterward. While you don’t need to send a long, heartfelt message immediately after meeting someone new, you should send a LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message sooner rather than later.

There is no better time than now to start building your network. Thankfully, We’ve entered a new era, one in which shifting cultural values and the explosion of digital technology enable us to network in vastly more efficient, more focused, and more enjoyable ways.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” Robert Kiyosaki.