individual or group perceives a situation becomes a reality that is difficult to break. In 2010 Psychology Today reported two reasons why minds are not easily changed: self-affirmation, and cultural cognition.
Most people like to think they are open-minded. Thinking outside of the box, a popular workplace attribute, is widely thought to depend on the ability to maintain an open-mind. The truth is that once a perception is made it is difficult for the most open-minded of people to change.
To prove the point take a look at the picture available by clicking here. Write down what you see in the picture.
Now look at a second picture by clicking here. Write down what you see in this picture.
What if you were told that what you think is drawn in the picture was incorrect? For most the reaction is one of disbelief leaving the viewer to defend their vision. Instead of arguing, let us look at what each picture contained.
For the first picture you either saw an old woman or a young woman. Whichever you saw look at the picture again and look for the other. The picture was drawn to show that the young woman remains in her even as she ages. The older woman sees this as she reflects on her life. Notice the older woman is looking down while the younger woman is looking to the back.
In the second picture you probably saw an amphibian. If not look for it now. If you did spot the frog immediately look now for something that weighs more than 50 pounds. It could take a while.
If you give up, the thing weighing more than 50 pounds is a horse. Can you see it now?
To help you out the frog is sitting down, facing away. The horse’s head is all that is shown with the horse looking out of the water. To help you out, the frog’s eyes are the horse’s nostrils.
Now that you have seen the second major object in each picture look at them objectively again. It is probably inconceivable to you that you did not see it at first.
Perception is powerful, but once someone sees things differently they will be able to see more options.
©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.
Resources for you:
- Employment Diversity in Michigan, a human resources networking group on LinkedIn.
- Max Impact offers free employee training materials
- Cultural roadmap, look at the contents of the character within each of us.
- Cultural Faux Pas and Culture Quizzes are interesting quizzes to test your diversity knowledge.
- Keep your workforce motivated with these motivational quotes.
- “Life’s Leadership Lessons”: 53 anecdotal leadership lessons for employee and leadership development.
- Employee training and development materials from Amazon.