Most people are winners, it’s been said. Some are disguised as losers, but don’t let their disguises fool you. — I was reminded of that quote recently when I realized how often I used to see someone with his or her disguise on and I’d never look past that behavior to see if there was anything more. And the interesting thing, there always was.
In my last book on the super powers we possess, my favorite ‘power’ is X-Ray Vision, the power and ability to see past the problem to multiple solutions, and past the problem person to his or her potential. Often even people we really care about get labeled in a certain way, and then we don’t see past that behavior to the essence of the individual. We miss the unlimited potential someone might have because we’ve categorized him and see him only through a limited perspective.
Andrew Carnegie made more millionaires during his era than anyone else, and when questioned on how he did it, his response: It’s a lot like digging for gold, you have to dig past the dirt to the part that shines.
How often do we hear people talk about their problem employees or the idiots who report to them or even teachers who quietly talk about the students who are losers, they’re even lucky to have made it this far.
My belief is when we stop labeling or putting people into categories of winners and losers, especially when our first impressions of people don’t meet our standards of how something should be done, then we might start to see a lot more shine in the world.
Let me give you an example of seeing the ‘shine’ instead of the disguise:
Once when flying somewhere on a business trip I came to my window seat and there was a little old lady in it. I politely told her she was in my seat; she seemed very distracted (or flaky I remember thinking) and moved to the middle seat. Then I saw a yellow plastic bag sitting where I put my feet. I informed her that I would gladly move her package to the overhead compartment. She looked up and said no, she wanted to hold it as it held the flag from her husband’s coffin; she just came from his funeral.
My entire perspective changed from one of aggravation to one of compassion and concern, all because she made me look at her in a way I hadn’t noticed before; I saw the part that was shining.
Malcolm Gladwell reminded us in The Tipping Point that it only takes a small group of dedicated, passionate people to change a culture and make a difference. If we all decided to see people through a lens of possibility, being open to the parts that shone, it could get rid of a lot of the frustrations we encounter and in the process, inspire others to change their vision as well.
What do you think?