How to avoid being constrained by perception


How many potentially stellar careers have been crushed before they even began by discouraging words from those we think must be right because they know us so well? People like mum, dad or a teacher?

Consider this scenario; a child says to mum and dad, “When I grow up I want to be a footballer.”

Mum and dad respond by saying, “You’ll never succeed at football son, you’re not good enough. You’d be better thinking about a different career.”

Now what would be the impact of such an exchange on a child? Just think about it for a second.

Mum and dad will have meant well, almost certainly. They’d think they were giving their child an honest response based on their perception of the child’s ability.

No doubt they were thinking that getting to the top in professional sport is tough and few actually make it. And perhaps they perceive the child as being a bit less than sporty and feel he’d be better off pursuing a different line of work. Their thinking would be to save the child from disappointment in the future.

Regardless of any good intentions on mum and dad’s part however, how would the child be affected here? Firstly what he will actually have heard was, “You’re not good enough” regardless of any sugar-coating mum and dad may have applied to their words.

Such negativity oft repeated is extremely damaging to a child. A child’s dreams are easily crushed.

Gradually they are conditioned to believe they have little to offer the world and they will go through life acting accordingly, with little in the way of dreams or ambition.

The limits of perception:

The person others perceive us to be can be hard to escape. Perception is everything.

Our progress in life, as well as in our careers, can be constrained by the perception others have of us.

We have many sides to our personality and the capacity and talent to do many things. And yet few people, if any, see the full extent of what we have to offer.

So people put us in imaginary pigeon holes of where they believe our place in life should be.

People struggle to see beyond the limits of what they perceive us to be.

And sadly, all too often our own actions serve only to reinforce this limited view.

You have no limits, only untapped potential:

How we’re perceived to be is rarely an accurate reflection of what we have to offer. Most people are in fact a bottomless reservoir of untapped potential.

Most things can be achieved if you want them badly enough and you’re prepared to work hard enough to get them.

And it doesn’t matter whether other people believe you can achieve it, as long as you believe you can achieve it.

Believe you can and you will. The converse of that is true too. So be positive and avoid the siren voices of negativity.

Know what you want:

It really is important to know what you want.

However, how can we know what we really want? This is particularly true when we’re young and have little experience of life to use as a basis for judgement.

Well if you’re not sure about what you want, just keep looking. Move around regularly if you have to, trying different experiences until you find something that really ‘floats your boat’.

Showcase your ability and talents as much as you can too. That way, people may approach you with potential experiences you hadn’t even considered.

Focus on your goal:

Once you know what you want, that becomes a goal on which to focus.

Decide what you need to do to achieve that goal and then pursue it with determination and as much hard work as is necessary.

Don’t forget lives need balance too:

Pursuing your goal is a worthy aim. However in doing so, make sure you have some balance in your life.

That means having a sense of purpose but also a pastime and someone special in your life too.

Achieving all three is what balance is all about.

Visibility matters:

Take every opportunity to show other people what you can do.

You must make sure that people have full visibility of everything you have to offer.

Never hide your light under a bushel. There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion.

If you don’t look after your own interests then no one else will.

Dream big and ignore negative people:

Life is what you make it. You’re not constrained by how others see you. The only limits are the artificial ones that act like invisible walls. However they can only be limits if you allow them to be.

And you don’t have to allow them to get in the way. Simply refuse to be constrained and pursue your dreams.

Don’t be afraid to dream big and ignore anyone who suggests you cannot achieve your ambition.

You can and you should. Making your mark and leaving a legacy is a worthy aim.

So go on; be the person you really could be.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.


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