JP Flintoff

How To Change The People Around You / 2

By John-Paul Flintoff

So, we were stuck in the middle of the crowded carriage, and I was going to need to barge past a lot of people with my big bag, to get off.

But the ticket-collector just happened to be passing, so I asked if I would be OK staying on board this train for another stop or two.

He shrugged, and pulled a face:

“Do what you like, mate.”

So I stayed on.

And I talked about how projection might be part of the reason why board members were not talking to each other.

Essentially, projection is the ordinary business of making up stories to summarise the people around us. We might say:

He’s a bore.
He’s ruthless.

As if people were permanently like that! When you think about this for about 4.2 seconds, it’s plainly nonsense.

Even when the stories we make up are “nice”, it’s nonsense:

He’s adorable.
He’s hilarious.

Because nobody is permanently adorable, or hilarious.

You aren’t, are you?

Why do we make this mistake? Partly because of the way we’re brought up: we learn from storybooks, then from TV and film, that some people are “good” and others aren’t…

And as we grow up and enter the world of work, we come to fixed conclusions about the people around us and don’t even notice ourselves doing it.

If we conclude that they’re adorable, we forgive all kinds of faults.

And if we think they’re ruthless, we don’t see the gentle things they do.

In short, we behave towards them in a way that expects them to fit our “story” about them. And because of they way we behave towards them, they respond exactly as we expected.

Which confirms our prejudice.

And we carry on doing it. And so it goes on…

But what do I mean by “the way we behave towards them”?

Keep Reading…

Posted: December 8, 2017