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Paul Greiner

The World of Expectations, Part 2

(This is the second part of a three-part series; if you haven’t already, I recommend that you read the first part to set the context for yourself)

Welcome back. In this part of our exploration of the world of expectations, we will take a look at how our overall performance and experience are shaped and constrained by what we expect, and then look to see what will allow us to restore and elevate our effectiveness and results. And again, this is not The Truth or something to be believed, but something to consider. For when we see something from a new perspective, we give ourselves new opportunities for action, new ways to be and a whole new experience.

In last month’s newsletter we looked at ourselves and started to get an idea of the degree to which how we see the world, and in fact how we are (think, feel, act) in the world, is colored and influenced by our expectations. Let’s revisit this once more from the view of neurobiology. Consider this: If visual sensations were primarily received rather than constructed by the brain, you’d expect that most of the fibers going to the brain’s primary visual cortex would come from the retina. Instead, scientists have found that only twenty per cent do; eighty per cent come downward from regions of the brain governing functions like memory.

In fact, Richard Gregory, a prominent British neuropsychologist, estimates that visual perception is more than ninety per cent memory and less than ten per cent sensory nerve signals.

Are you starting to get this?

We don’t “see” with our eyes. We “see” with our brain. What we “see” is almost totally constructed from what we have seen and what we expect to see. We think and act as if we’re “perceiving” something “out there”, and reacting accordingly, right? It’s just not the case. Our expectations don’t just influence our “response to what’s happening”, they create the “happening” that we’re “responding to”. The same goes for the other senses, and, by extension, listening (as distinct from just hearing). The way that a situation (and “the world”) occurs for us, and therefore the way we act “in response” to that occurring situation, is wholly a function of the future we expect, which is limited to some variation of what we’ve “experienced” in the past.

What does this actually look like? Well, in sales it could look like this:

Read More »The World of Expectations, Part 2

The World of Expectations, Part 1

Expectations- we all have them, whether of ourselves, of others, or of the world and life itself. There’s just no getting around it. Really.

In fact, for the purposes of this conversation, I invite you to consider something. I invite you to come with me as we take a look at ourselves through the view called “human being as expectation.” Sound kind of odd? It’ll be okay, I promise- this is not “the truth.” It’s a view of ourselves (and our work, our lives, etc.) that, when taken, may just provide you with something new; like maybe a new insight into your own performance or experience, or a new opening for action where you didn’t see one before.

See, that’s what we do here- we engage in new (and sometimes counter-intuitive) views such that we’re left with new possibilities, new opportunities and unprecedented and maybe even previously unthinkable results. So again, for the sake of what you’re committed to in your work and your life, I ask you to try this on.

Expect: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of. (Random House, 2011)

Let’s start right where we are: right here (aren’t we always?). Why are you reading this blog right now? I’d imagine it’s because you think that it may prove valuable to you in some way, yes? So you’re expecting it to be worth investing your time and attention in, right? Great (we share that expectation, by the way).  Or maybe you’re just bored and have some free time at the moment. Even then, can you see that the very fact that your time seems to currently be “free” is a function of how you’re expecting the rest of the day, week, and so forth to go? For instance, if you had a project deadline four hours from now and five hours of work to do to finish, I don’t think that your time would seem so “free”, would it?

My assertion: Take a close look, and I think you’ll find that who you are (your thoughts, feelings and actions) in any given moment is perfectly correlated with the future you’re expecting. Make sense? Please read that statement again. I’m saying that how you are being in any given moment, including how you feel and what you do or don’t do, is perfectly matched with and reflective of the future that you are, in that moment, anticipating. Is that clicking for you? Or maybe it seems very obvious, leaving you wondering, “So what?” That “so what”, that constant and pervasive concern for the future is exactly what we’re pointing to.  And don’t worry, we’re getting to “so what”- but now just notice how you’re now being, and how that is intimately connected with your expectations.

Read More »The World of Expectations, Part 1

Top 3 Ways to Kill a Relationship

“Existential analysis has the character of doing violence, whether to the claims of the everyday interpretation, or to its complacency and its tranquilized obviousness.” -Martin Heidegger

February is upon us, which means for most of us that we have been immersed in and surrounded by Valentine’s Day and all its trappings. This has been a time for many to buy cards, flowers, candy, dinner, and so on, while others resist and condemn various qualities of the holiday and even the holiday itself.

Either way, I’m guessing that no matter which group you’re in, your attitude and actions around Valentine’s Day are the same as they were last year. I bet that you could explain the background and reasons for your position, maybe even relate a compelling story of heartbreak and disappointment, or of true love and serendipity.

I dare you to risk everything, and file all of that under “everyday interpretation” and “tranquilized obviousness.”

Today, let’s do some Heideggerian violence to what seems so obvious. Rather than explore an abstraction, stand or ideal, let’s reveal what’s probably already happening now. In all our “complacency” we are probably, right now, killing off our relationships, and therefore our possibilities, opportunities and fulfillment.

How do we do such things? Well, I can tell you how I do it, and how thousands of people I’ve had the opportunity to coach, support and intimately interact with do it. If you have a willingness to be authentic, and a sense of humor, I think you’ll see yourself here as well. If not, you may want pass this by for now…

Read More »Top 3 Ways to Kill a Relationship

2011: Best Year Ever

Once again, we find ourselves at the start of a New Year; a time for looking toward, planning for and even designing our future. I know that, for me personally, I’ve declared 2011 to be my best year ever, and I’m committed that each and every person in and around my communities has that same opportunity. Along those lines, I’m happy to acknowledge those that have joined my Best Year Ever coaching group, kicking off January 15th. This is a local group of entrepreneurs and leaders who have completed my Power & Performance Program, and are committed to really knocking 2011 out of the park in terms of professional performance and quality of life. I am honored to be working with such inspiring and committed people, and can’t WAIT to get started!

On another note, this can be a confronting time for many of us.

Read More »2011: Best Year Ever

Transforming Your Business Through Living Thanksgiving

For those of us who live in the U.S., this Thursday is the celebration of Thanksgiving: a day of gratitude for all that we have, and all that got us to where we are. Most of us, certainly anyone reading this post, have a whole lot to be thankful for, regardless of the recent state of the economy. Given the constant pull to give our attention to what’s wrong and what we don’t have, I personally am looking forward to this occasion to focus on and appreciate what I do have.

So that’s one step; redirect what you’re focusing on from what’s not there to what actually is there. This is certainly relevant in business. One could say that leadership and management of an organization is largely a function of what isn’t. In leading a team, our intention is to produce some result or outcome that isn’t currently present. In managing a team, we measure “where we are” in a project against where we aren’t (projections, promises, etc.). Business is all about what isn’t. So now is the opportunity to really focus on what is; acknowledging fully the results, opportunities and quality of life we do have. This in its own right can be quite a transformative experience.

Read More »Transforming Your Business Through Living Thanksgiving