When Perceptions Change, Outcomes Change

Team around table

The way I see it…

Throughout your career, it is inevitable that you will encounter challenging relationships. These relationships can be stressful. How you perceive these experiences determines how well you handle these situations. This is where the power of perception applies. How do you see each situation you encounter? Where do you focus your energy? How do you create a positive outcome?

There’s a well-known story about a psychology professor conducting a stress-management class. (I can’t seem to identify where it came from, but the moral is a good one.) The professor, as the story goes, raises a glass of water in front of her students, who expect to hear the typical glass-half-full/half-empty lecture. Instead, she asks them to guess the weight of the glass of water. After listening to a few replies, she says that the absolute weight of the glass doesn’t matter. If she held it for a minute or two, it would feel fairly light. If she held it for an hour, it would likely feel heavier, and her arm might begin to ache. If she held it for an entire day, the pain and strain might force her to drop the glass to the floor. The weight of the glass remains the same – only the length of time changes. The longer you hold it, the heavier it feels.

Stressful relationships are similar to this glass of water. Don’t carry them around all day without looking at them with a different perspective. Unresolved issues in relationships can become burdensome. They’ll become increasingly heavy until you eventually become incapable of doing anything about them. Change your perceptions, look at others through a different lens, lighten the load, and your outcomes will change. 

That’s the way I see it.