Can you tell how good your performance is or how you can improve? Read on to find out, you might be surprised…
Those of you who are Pink Floyd fans will immediately recognize the lyrics from the song, “Wish You Were Here”. The first part of the song, for those of you not familiar with it are below:
So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
Let’s be honest – yes we can! The difference between them is immediate and obvious, and we can all do this easily. Here is another question:
“Do you think you can tell who knows you best?”
If I was to ask you that then you would probably see one word – “Me!” Yet you would be wrong. How you see yourself and how other people see you are only weakly correlated.
The research suggests that other people’s assessment of your personality predicts your behaviour, on average, better than your assessment does. The truth is, we don’t know ourselves nearly as well as we think we do. When it comes to performance, our surprising self-ignorance makes understanding where we went right and where we went wrong difficult, to say the least.
If you want to be more successful — at anything — than you are right now, you need to know yourself and your skills. And when you fall short of your goals, you need to know why. This should be no problem; after all, who knows you better than you do?
Why is this?
The problem is our brain. Just because its our doesn’t mean we know what it’s doing – most of what happens is below our consciousness awareness, it’s not directly accessible to us at all. As psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson described it our unconscious mind is like a Cray supercomputer processing everything at high speed, whereas our conscious brain has the power of a Post-It note – unable to handle much and when too much is asked of it, it starts dropping things. This means when things start going wrong we often have difficulty in understanding why.
When you fail to reach a goal you try to establish why(for example, lack of innate ability, lack of effort, poor preparation, using the wrong strategy, bad luck, etc). Of all of these possible culprits, it’s lack of innate ability we most frequently hold responsible. As such, innate ability is the go-to explanation for all of our successes and our failures.
Research shows that this is rarely the case – for either succeeding or falling short. If we need to improve performance we need to know where to place blame. As we can’t find it ourselves, we need to help to find the right answers.
How do we do this – we focus not on who people are, but what they do.
To find out more, and to read the second part of this article then “Do You Think You Can Tell?” – Part 2 at growthandprofit.wordpress.com
What have been your experiences? What works for you? Share your ideas and thoughts, and share the wealth!
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