Rebuilding Series: The Calm Down Flip Around. By Marshall Lestz
Good Morning Everybody,
When I first started my career as an advertising writer back in the previous century, I was responsible for catching any typos in the print ads I did before they got produced and were seen publicly. I still remember a helpful proof reading technique my art director partner shared with me back then. He told me to take the page that I was reviewing, turn it upside down, and then try to read it that way. Sounds crazy I know, but it was awesome. Flipping around the page forces you to study every single letter because you’re trying to figure out what it says! It’s like you’re reading the words for the first time, which is key. Because when we proof read something the normal way, we’re so familiar with the content that we’re mentally reading ahead. We’re listening to the little voice in our head that’s reciting what’s supposed to be there, as opposed to reacting to what really IS THERE.
Perhaps this little observation can help us with some of our tricky relationships. When certain people say or do things that regularly get on our nerves, we come to expect that behavior from them. We even start to anticipate it as soon as we’re around them. “Oh no…here it comes, they’re gonna say it… brace yourself… “ But doing this is like the mistake we make when proof reading! We’re mentally reading ahead… we’re literally misreading the person! We can be so busy anticipating that thing we don’t like, we SEE IT IN OUR MIND’S EYE even though it’s not happening. We’re relating to an illusion.
Consequently, the other person may actually be working on correcting his behavior and even improved a little, but we can’t see it. Or maybe they’re feeling down and could use a little emotional support, but we don’t pick up on it because we’re not really in the moment; we’re “reading ahead” and still waiting for that disliked behavior to pop up. We’re skimming the person, instead of absorbing what’s really happening.
Perhaps the proof reading trick I mentioned before can come in handy. Let’s flip things around from how we usually view the person and get a fresh perspective… Let go of our preconceived notions…Appreciate them for more of who they really are in the moment, and not be so attached to how they’ve typically behaved in the past. We’ll surely discover things we’ve never noticed before; things that we’ve been glossing right over. And even if that behavior that bothers us is still there, at least we won’t make it our primary focus.
May we continue to grow in our ability to see, appreciate and anticipate people’s good qualities, and zoom right past the things that have until now, come between us.
Have a fresh perspective kind of day everybody,
Keep on Building!