And the meaning we put to things. This controls the way we feel about everything.
If you can change the meaning to give something then you make change the way you feel about yourself. Do this consistently, and you can change your life. I had this explained to me by an executive coach some time ago. It takes a lot of effort and can take a long time to make these changes stick. But at the end of the day this really matters. Let me illustrate with a real example.
Someone seeking help or trying to screw me over?
Friday afternoon at 4pm we are all thinking about the weekend. Some people are starting to disappear. Dave contacts me asking for an emergency piece of work to be done that evening.
There are two simple ways to think about this. On one hand you can think that Dave left this to the last minute and his panic is not my problem. He should plan his life better and not try to screw up the start of the weekend. What an asshole! Fair enough?
OR I can think, Dave is really in a hole, under intense pressure from the business to get this change made here and now. He has decided to call me, because he believes I am the best person in the company to help him get this sorted. He really appreciates the help I can give him. Dave’s just in a tough position between a rock and a hard place.
The first scenario makes me feel bad, screwed over, helpless, I am a victim of someone else’s inability to plan. The second scenario makes me feel like a hero.
Depending upon the meaning I assign to the interaction with Dave, I can feel like a victim or a hero. It’s pretty clear which option I want to take. But it took someone else to help me work through this example and see a different perspective.