“We read the world wrong and say it deceives us”

                            -Rabindranath Tagore 

Business Week conducted a survey. It asked thousands of business managers to self rate themselves regarding their competence and skills when leading others. 90% of the managers who responded placed themselves in the top 10% regarding their skills and abilities.

Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, was speaking at a large medical conference. There were over 300 doctors in the audience. Marshall asked by a show of hands how many were in the top 50% of their graduating class.  Every physician raised their hand. Marshall paused for a moment looked hard at the audience, smiled and said “According to the laws of statistics this is highly improbable.” The audience laughed back nervously.

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”Through a glass darkly” That’s how the bible describes human ability to see reality. Another way of looking at this is to say that we all have blind spots regarding seeing ourselves and how we view the world.  We think that we are seeing what is actually there but forget we are wearing a dark pair of sunglasses with distorted lens. And everyone has a different pair of glasses with unique distortions moulded by our own experiences, traumas, travails and cultural conditioning.

Here are five actions we can take to act more effectively:

  1. A big step into the light, is to assume that we don’t  see reality as it actually is especially when we are in high stakes situations.
  2. Slow down your decision making especially when you find yourself talking rapidly, breathing shallowly, and having an overwhelming sense you are right. 
  3. Understand that we make decisions based on how we feel as well as our rational reasoning. Thinking that we can exclude emotions from our decisions is folly. Emotions informs our rational brain and helps us make decisions. 

   The more we pay attention to those feelings the more likely we can understand the effect that emotions have on our world view. Conversely, the more we deny awareness of our emotions the more likely they will unconsciously influence our perceptions

  1. Hire a coach who is dedicated to helping you understand your blind spots and is engaged in giving you clear feedback on your performance.
  2. Even when there is enormous pressure for a decision take the time to breathe. Slow deep breaths engage the parasympathetic nervous system that allows greater blood flow to the brain and signals that we are not under extreme threat to either flee, freeze or fight.

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