Where's my spoon?
Updated: Mar 4
Not seeing what is staring you in the face. The mysteries of Perception.
Glass half full?
Many moons ago whilst studying for an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Southampton University, I took a semester on Perception. It was one of the most fascinating topics we covered and it continues to intrigue me today. In day to day life however, we rarely stop to think about how we do things or why, we just get on and keep doing. For this reason it can be helpful to step outside your everyday milieu and speak (or listen) to somebody new. You never know what it will trigger!
Last week Lucy and I had the pleasure of attending a Ladies Business Networking lunch at the Garlic Farm (Yes, garlic is on the list top 3 things of ingredients that would feature in my last meal!). Our speaker was Sheryl Andrews aka the Listening Detective who talked about effective listening and at some point she talked about people have different perceptions of time. Lucy and I looked at each other and laughed - Eureka! Yes, that is indeed true for us. There are occasionally times when our different perceptions of time can be the cause of minor conflict. Lucy likes to do things really quickly and I prefer to think about things first before taking action. Overall we work well together and balance each other out. I make Lucy slow down and relax and Lucy makes me speed up and meet my deadlines!
It set us thinking about how we do things and understand the world and as we sat on the ferry, very early one morning (always conducive to philosophical discussion), we turned our thoughts to why we perceive time differently.
"Why do you feel the need to do everything now?" I asked Lucy.
She replied, " I think that I might run out of time, that if I get it done now, it's done. I have always had a sense of impatience in everything. I'm a bit worried sometimes that I'm impatient to die just to know what it's like actually. I think that's maybe why it is that I need to experience things and it's almost like collecting. I like collecting things. I like collecting experiences and that's why I need to get things done now so I can collect more."
"Sandy, why do you like to be laid back about things?" she said.
"I've always been an observer. I like to watch and think and contemplate why people do things the way they do and I think there's always more than one way and sometimes by waiting you find a better way."
Then we had another epiphany moment - We realised that it is not just to do with how we perceive time but a lot to do with learning styles. I have to listen and watch to learn. Lucy has to do, and that probably takes longer and that's why she has to get on and do things. I am an auditory learner and need to listen whereas Lucy is a kinetic learner and needs to act.
The point of this blog is simply to get you to thinking about why you see things the way you do. Are you happy with how you see yourself? Is there something you can change to challenge your perceptions?
Perceptions of cold are another thing of interest to me at the moment. I go swimming in the sea in a swimsuit and I expect it to be fairly cold, so when the weather is mild, I perceive it as "quite warm", yet those walking along the beach wrapped up in their scarves and long coats seem to perceive it as really cold.
Is anyone right or wrong? Not really, but I do believe we can modify how we perceive things, if we want to. If you tell yourself that grey skies are bad then you will not enjoy being out on a grey day. If you enjoy flying a kite, then a windy day can seem perfect.
So what's with the spoon reference? Well I was looking for my spoon in my handbag, but thought I had left it at home, so I simply didn't see it. I saw what I was looking for - evidence that I had indeed left it behind - and I saw nothing. Sometimes we get what we are looking for, so next time you want to have fun, look for evidence around you that there is fun to be had!