When a Dot is More Than a Dot

Things are often not as they seem, and when we make assumptions about an event or another’s behavior, we may well be wrong and sorry.  How might a printing process teach us something about life?  When you take a very close look at a picture in a magazine, what valuable lesson might it reveal?

Many years ago, I was CEO of a leading packaging manufacturing company, and one of the operations we used was printing.  We acquired a state-of-the-art, eight color printing press so we could do process work, which is the printing method used to print pictures (whether for magazines, newspapers, packages, labels, etc.).  Most people know a little about this process now because every color, computer printer uses this method.  It is also the principal on which computer screens, televisions, smartphones, etc., create their beautiful images.

Take a look at a picture in a magazine or from your color printer with a magnifying glass or a loupe, and you’ll see that it is made up of many tiny dots of certain colors, organized specifically to generate the image.  One dot on it’s own will never make a picture.  It can only represent a dot.  Similarly, several dots, but not organized correctly, will create a blurry or even incomprehensible image.  What does this have to do with life?

Events happen throughout our lives, and each one of them represents a dot.  Each one, on its own, can only represent itself.  Sometimes we attach meaning to an event by making an assumption about its meaning.  When a similar event continues to occur, it becomes a series of dots and a more definitive meaning evolves.  Once there are a sufficient number of dots to create a clear picture, only then is it appropriate to attribute certain meaning, which is likely, by then, to be obvious.  You know that old saying about what happens when we “assume.”  Quite often, when we assume a certain meaning without proper consideration, we react rather than respond, and that can end up being the ultimate assumption.  Only when the dots are aligned in just the right way will the picture become unmistakably clear.

quo_mlkjrSo the next time an event, a dot, occurs in your life, take note of it and allow it to be just a dot, like a blip on a radar screen.  Save yourself from being wrong and sorry, the victim of a self-inflicted assumption.  If that dot appears over and over, if it occurs repeatedly, the truthful meaning will become clear, and when it does, you will be able to make the appropriate response, saving yourself and perhaps another from a very uncomfortable and embarrassing situation.

We are all unique, and we see things through our eyes and with our filters.  I encourage you to remember that we are all more the same than we are different, and yet it is all of our similarities as well as our differences that make this world such an interesting place from which we can learn and grow.  When we open our eyes to all that is possible, we can realize the true joy of all that we share.  How cool is that?!

From Victim to Victor

Many of us have had an accident of some kind and may have suffered an injury.   Some may have suffered other injuries, either physical or emotional.  When something like that happens to us, it is understandable to think of ourselves as victims, especially when another party is involved and seemingly responsible.  What is a potential negative consequence of our feeling like or believing we are victims, and perhaps even believing in “accidents” of “suffering injury?”

In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), which is the study and application of how we form beliefs and how those beliefs drive behaviors, we look at the role of language as one factor.  Language is more than simply the spoken word and includes nonverbal language as well as our internal dialogue.  What you say to yourself is important in recognizing why you may behave in a certain way. It relates to the notion, “What you believe, you will achieve.”  The caveat is that you need to be careful about what you say to yourself, because it may just become your truth.quo_gandhi

If you believe you are a victim, is it possible that you have relinquished not only your power but also responsibility for your circumstances?  If you are not responsible for your circumstances, then what purpose is there in learning new skills, in making good decisions, in eating healthy foods that support your body, in exercising, and in being a good example for your children?  Have you ever known someone who always blamed everyone and everything else for their circumstances?  How often have we heard a child say, “That wasn’t my fault?”  My mother never accepted that excuse because she told me it was my responsibility to not allow myself to be in a situation that could result in my being hurt or getting in trouble.  It was my responsibility to leave a situation before getting in trouble or being hurt. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that lesson taught me much about responsibility, which carried over to all aspects of my life.

When you think of yourself as a victim, you give away everything that allows you to accomplish all the wonderful dreams and goals you deserve.  When you take full responsibility for what happens in your life, you become the victor over your life.  When you think of yourself as the victor, the master of your circumstances, then anything is possible.  How cool is that?

A Lesson in Understanding

Have you ever been in a discussion with someone and they disagreed with your point of view or didn’t even understand how you could have the opinion that you held? Have you ever had someone angry with you and all they could say was that they didn’t understand how you could have said or done what you did? How did that make you feel?

To “understand,” according to the Oxford Dictionary, means to perceive the intended meaning, significance, explanation, or cause of something. When someone says they don’t understand something you’ve said (or done), do they simply mean they don’t perceive your intended meaning, or are they saying more than that? Might they mean that it doesn’t make sense, based on their model of the world, and that since they don’t understand you from your perspective, you are wrong and they are right? Might it mean, especially if they are angry, that they believe you must have intended something else, something that you did not intend, perhaps even something unkind or hurtful? When someone is angry with you because they don’t understand what you have said or done, the underlying cause is fear. They are afraid of something that is based on a belief (possibly, even likely one that is unconscious), about themselves or others and, therefore, about how they are going to be treated.

What I believe to be vital is to recognize that our beliefs can and often will actually have us believing things that are not true. In NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), one of the presuppositions is, “The map is not the territory.” What that means is that our perceptions (the map) are not the reality. They feel like it and appear to be so, but they are based on many things that actually mask reality. My perceptions are based on my experiences, my beliefs, my filters, my model of the world, my state at the instant moment, and more. All of those are different than yours, and therefore my perception of the same event, phrase, discussion, article, color, and so on will be different than yours. That does not make mine any more right or wrong than yours, just different. Since our beliefs and where we direct our attention will create our reality, it is also likely that if we are concentrating on something, we will bring it into our being. For example, if I am looking for something to go wrong, for there to be something negative about another person, I will bring that into being. But, since “the map is not the territory,” I will only be perceiving it to be so.

Imagine that you have green-colored lenses on your glasses and your friend has rose-colored lenses. Are you going to see the same thing? Will you perceive a flower or the grass the same? No, and that is how we see the world: in our own way, from our own point of view, through our own filters, based on our own experiences and beliefs. What is important to remember is that we see things differently, and different is just that, different. If I don’t understand what you mean, it doesn’t mean you are wrong, it simply means that what you see or hear is different from what I see or hear. If we trust each other and ourselves, then there is no cause for anger, because we know that the other person only means well and isn’t out to hurt us.

Remember to not take anything personally. If you have read “The Four Agreements,” you recognize that. If you haven’t, remember to never take anything personally. A friend and teacher, Helene Rothschild, wrote, “The truth is that no matter what anyone else says or does, you are okay, worthy, loveable, attractive, intelligent, and good enough….” By allowing yourself to understand this truth and to see what is new, what is different, and what is possible, you open up to a whole new world.

“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.” ~ Janos Arnay

How cool is that?

Possibilities

For those of you who have been to or who are thinking of visiting my web site, you may notice some quotes on each of several pages. One of my favorites is by Emily Dickinson, in which she says, “Dwell in Possibility.” As simple as this is, it is a profound thought, one more powerful than she may have ever imagined. Another favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Both of these quotes cause us to think beyond our daily routine, beyond our lives as we see them, and that is powerful.

It is perfectly understandable that because our lives are so busy, so hectic, we have little time to dream. Actually, we have time, but most of us won’t take or make the time to dream. What if you took the time to dream, to dwell in what might be possible for you? What might you dream about, and what new possibilities could open up for you to accomplish?

When you were young, quite young, you may have had some dreams, and along the way, life happened. You may have shared your dreams with a family member or teacher or a good friend. It is possible that some of them may have been something less than enthusiastic and supportive. At some point, you may have begun to believe that maybe they were right and that you should be more realistic and practical and get on with your life, to do what normal people do. Perhaps you could no longer see yourself in that dream, and you may have forgotten it altogether.

That scenario has played out for many of us, and there is really nothing wrong with it. We have all done the best we could with what we had available to us (knowledge, wisdom, maturity) at the time. Those who were negative were so because at the time, that was all they knew. I know some parents may have seemed negative, not because they were really negative, but because they didn’t want their children to be disappointed upon a failure. Looking back, they may now have a different perspective.

The truth is that everything that exists today, even every convenience we take for granted and can’t imagine doing without, started as a dream, a glimmer, a mere possibility, often just a dream, a thought. So, what are you going to dream about? What might be possible for you if nothing else could get in the way? If you could imagine that everything you thought you had to do has been done, that now it is your time to create your life the way you want it, what might you dream? Dream big! When you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars. How cool is that?