Our Beliefs Shape our Perceptions

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

Our Beliefs Shape our Perceptions

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I am not a big follower of Tony Robbins. He is a little too much circus for me – a little too much drama for the sake of emotional appeal. But recently, I bumped into a Robbins quote which was spot on, “Its not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.”

As humans we are by design mentally lazy. We are preprogrammed to try and recognize patterns of behavior around us so that we can quickly categorize situations and therefore respond more efficiently – particularly when we perceive what is happening to be a threat to us on some level.

A large part of this mental strategy is mediated through stories that we tell ourselves. And they are commonly stories about what others think of us, why others do certain things, or what others REALLY meant when they said this, or did that.

Often times we craft these stories to help justify our agendas or to protect our self-esteem, “Mrs, Jones obviously does not care about her mouth, this is the second time she has canceled this big appointment… Today’s planned production is ruined! Now what am I going to do?”

These self-stories are an example of what Sigmund Freud called “projection”. They allow us to quickly attach meaning to what we are experiencing. Research shows that we like stories that make sense to us. We like stories which fulfill a recognizable pattern. And now the neuroscience even tells us that we get a hit of dopamine every time we recognize a familiar pattern – we are chemically rewarded, and this all has a lot to do with the way brain function evolved over time.

This is why we make up stories to explain bad or undesirable things which happen to us, even when we don’t really know the cause. These stories then prompt us to make adjustments, and to develop strategies where we to try and out-think others.

But there is a problem. People do not behave rationally much of the time; people are not rational beings who then feel, they are feeling beings who then think.

In truth, people are predictably unpredictable, so good luck with your counter strategies as they may just lead you to telling more stories, and creating more and more elaborate solutions, which then lead to more unpredictable outcomes, “Why don’t we send him a reminder text to at 5:00 AM?”

The most predictable pathway to more predictable behavior is through relationships – meaningful, helpful ones that is – from THEIR point of view. If a person FEELS that you sincerely care about them, If they FEEL that you sincerely have their best interests at heart, if they FEEL that your truly hear them, and that you understand their fear and you are willing protect them from harm -then you have a game, then you have influenced someone with principle-centered personal empowerment. And then you get to do “the big case”, because the person will be doing it for themselves and while feeling somewhat safe about it all.

So think about it … No, FEEL about it. Try to feel about it the way they feel about it,  and then tell them what you are doing, “Mrs. Jones, I am sensing that something is wrong, is there anything that I can help you with? Are there some unaddressed concerns that you have regarding what we have discussed? I really don’t want you to feel like we are pushing you toward doing something that does not yet make sense to you. We are really just trying to help.”

And hopefully you are.

Paul A Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017

Read more at www.codiscovery.com






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