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?