Most of us complain about the people in our life.
“Charlie never spends time just connecting with me.”
“Sarah is overweight and won’t lose it.”
“My kid never does what I ask.”
“My employees can’t do it right and they’re too slow.”
When my clients make the same complaint over and over, I ask them to throw out all the strategies of dealing with this person that we’ve discussed up to that point.
Then I ask one of my favorite inquiries, “Are you giving them a reputation to live up to or down to?”
I can feel the wheels starting to turn in the client’s head after that question.
I then go on to explain that what we expect of people is what we get. Another way of putting that is, whatever you give your attention to, you get more of.
This is a wonderful experience when you are noticing fabulous traits about the people around you, but when you notice everything you don’t like, it’s a nightmare for you and the other person.
I know it can be challenging to not react when your partner keeps doing the same thing you’ve asked them not to do. But make it your focus to concentrate on the things you DO like about that person.
We tend to be title experts. We call Sally, next door, “The Smoker Lady.” Hank is a “Weirdo.” Charlie is a “Freak!”
Guess what? When we do that we’ll constantly experience them this way when we see them. We will always attract proof to support our hypothesis.
This goes for everything we decide about the world and the people in it.
Some people believe the economy is down and repel business to prove their point. Others thrive during that same time, space, and reality because they believe they’re always prosperous. We’re not consciously trying to prove our negative titles. You simply get what you project.
Somebody else might think Charlie, “The Freak,” is the most sensible person they’ve ever met. Now you have a different perspective of him. Next time you interact with Charlie, he seems less “freaky.”
What if you started expecting good things from those people who’ve frustrated you in the past? Or focused only on the things that you can truly respect about them? What if you gave them a reputation to live up to?
This same principle goes for the nasty things we privately say about ourselves. Some of the most famous lines about myself are, “I’m a slow learner when it comes to technical stuff,” “I should be better than this,” and “I’m not going to get my way.” And surprise! I prove myself right.
I told myself that ground school for getting my private pilot’s license was going to be hard. The first night of class I experienced my brain spinning. I was totally lost. Then I stopped having that conversation about it being hard. I now understand the concepts and formulas faster than many of the other students. I titled myself “intuitively smart.” Now I’ve been gathering lots of proof about that!
What about throwing out titles like attention deficit disorder (ADD)? Many times, it is associated with children who are “hyperactive” and then they’re seen as having a learning disability. In adults it’s seen as being scattered, unable to focus, and disorganized.
Many years ago, I was diagnosed with ADD. They said, “You have an extreme case and you need to get on medication.” I decided that I was going to be a “grounded, organized, and focused person.”
I also let go of all the pressure to do fifty things in a day so that I would be “successful.” That was the year I cut my workload down to three days a week and tripled my income. That was the kind of proof I like!
What if you considered someone who forgets about time as “in the moment”?
They are usually people who get so focused on what they’re doing that they’re not focused on time. Are they spacey? NO! Quite the opposite. If you think someone is an idiot, I promise you, you will always experience him or her that way. Why would you want to be right about something like that?
Be right about the “greatness” in people. Be right about your awesomeness.
Give people a reputation to live up to!