Part 2 of Perception: The Bedrock of Leadership

In one of my previous posts, I had alluded to the importance of perception. So, in this one, we are going to take a look at some of the strategies that someone can take to change that. In order for this to happen, it’s important that you understand attitude; This is perhaps as important as any other single factor.

Attitude usually comes about as a result of cultural indoctrination and expectations. This indoctrination, often, creates a picture of oneself in what psychologists call, ‘the subconscious mind’. One of the strategies that I recommend in changing perception is to build a proper self-image. Ideally, this sounds simple but it is extremely hard to do in practice. Most of the self- help books out there would recommend repeating some mantra of some sort and keep your fingers crossed in the high hopes that you would change the way you think. However, this more than likely never works in real life. So, the question is why?

It’s because you can’t fool or deceive yourself into being something you are not. Human Beings are creatures of habit, so in order for you to effect change, habits must be formed through a repetitive process of decisions.

One of the habits that I recommend is what I call ‘Mental Imaging’. This means that you should face the challenge head on and literally take an offensive front through consistent action i.e.you should use constant reaffirmation backed up by actionable results.

For it is one thing to commit to changing your in-built perception through habits and another to repeat some magical words in the hopes that your life will change. Habituation is the key to ensure that your perceptions change. There’s actually an ancient secret developed by the Romans which holds that if you do something consistently for 21 days, then it would automatically become a habit. This ancient secret teaches that in order for you to create a habit, there has to be consistency.

So, in application to our issue here, it is cardinal that you apply the habit consistently. If you cannot do that, then there’s no doubt that your subconscious self will not believe you. Actually, all of the actions that we make each and every single day are subject to authentication by our subconscious. In other words, to some extent, the origin of all our actions are influenced to a high degree by the subconscious mind. So, if you consistently act in a way that contradicts your subconscious, it will have no choice but to comply with the new pattern of actions taking place. I can tell you my personal experience as an example. Prior to October 2016, I pretty much hated anything to do with books and reading. I could hardly sit in front of a book for more than two hours. My reasoning at the time was based on what a friend of mine told me that “it’s scientifically been proven that a person cannot study for more than three straight.” Without even checking the authenticity of this assumption, I just naturally accepted it and gave up studying soon as it ticked three hours. So, one day I decided to test the assumption by daring myself to study from 10 a.m. in the morning to 7 p.m., no matter the consequences. And guess what? I had managed to complete the task, with extreme difficulty I should say, but with a grin on my face. At that very point, I took the first step in changing my subconscious image.

So, the results would be the same for you as they were for me. You only need to make sure that’s what you want and you are willing to put in the effort. There are no shortcuts.

In conclusion, perception can be changed but it’s not easy because you are literally going against everything you have been taught and thought you knew. But however, with the right mentality and attitude, changing perception is invariably simple if you are willing to dare yourself in doing what you are not normally accustomed to.

Part 1 of PERCEPTION: The Bedrock of Leadership

A few days ago, I came across a very funny situation. As usual, I was coming down from the library, lost in thought. Until, I came to a street where some Kids were playing football (Americans call it soccer). Now, I think they were on a short recess and decided to entertain themselves with a little debate. They had drawn the Number 6 at the center of the road and had divided themselves into two teams, (at least from what I could tell).

The team at the left side of the street said the number was 6 while the team on the right said that the number was 9. The whole scene was so weird that I just had to ask as to what was going on.

Then, one of them filled me into the details and said, “What do you think uncle, isn’t that number a 9?” He looked at me with a puppy-eye look and I just melted saying, “Yeah, I think it is a 9.” To say that he was ecstatic at my response would be an understatement. He immediately pointed at his friends screaming at the top of voice, “I told you so, I told you so” and I just felt sorry for the other kids. At that point, the debate was over and the football game resumed as if nothing had happened.

Now, lost in deep thought again, an epiphany suddenly came to mind; We all want approval for our different perceptions and seek support from an authority to validate our selves. I mean think about it, why else do you need to go to college to get a degree in something you can easily look up on the internet?

Albert Einstein actually once said, “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.” The simple answer to this mystery is this keyword: ‘Validation.’

Physicist and Nobel Prize Winner, Albert Einstein. Famous developing the Theory of Relativity

Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s nothing wrong with people officially proving that we are competent in a certain field. However, this line of thinking becomes tragic when it comes to leading people. It’s okay for a manager to stay in his lane but if you are going to succeed as a leader, breaking the Status Quo has to be second nature. Leaders don’t need much validation from others because often times they are the ones at the tail end of that equation.

So, what does perception have to do with anything?

Well, how you perceive the world really determines how you lead yourself and others. As the Bible proverb goes, “So a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

A leader’s perception of a situation is largely dependent on the vision that he has. Whereas others see despair and chaos, a leader sees opportunity. But how can this be?

Well, its because the only person that needs to validate a leader is himself. Since they don’t need much validation from others, their perception of who they are allows them to make such leaps.

Come to think of it, I could’ve sworn that the number that was drawn by those Kids really looked like a 6. Or maybe its just me trying to get validation from those sad kids because I felt bad… (no pun intended).

Anyway, the bottom line is that if you want to lead effectively, you must work on a self-validation basis. The perception of your circumstances on personal level, business level or even national level depends heavily on how you think. Having the right perception, you will ultimately become the leader that you are destined to be.

In my next blog, I will take a look at some of the Strategies that one can take to change his perception and release the trapped leader within. Please, make sure you wash your hands regularly. Wouldn’t want the Corona Virus to get to you before my next blog now, do we? So, stay safe and see you then Vigilante Scholars!!!