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What Folder Are You In?

What’s one of the first things we as humans think about when we meet someone new? How much of my time, energy, or money, my resources, do I want to spend with this person, at this time?” The next thing we do is to make distinctions by deleting, distorting and generalizing all conversation and impressions of this person, so we can create a label for this person and put them in a “Them and Us” zone, or context. Yes, we all do this and it’s an unconscious process at this point in your life. The three big “Them and Us” folders in most minds are usually: gender, race, and religion. Then you quickly break them down into many sub-categories as you continue to discover how you are similar and how you are different from one another. You ask the question, do we have any “quick” connections with which to create rapport. You first look for commonalities, then notice where you run into conflicting, contradictory opinions and principles. From this information you start creating stories, perceptions and interpretations of reality so there is some context and they can then be sorted and filed for future use.

We all want to be part of a tribe, a group of like minds. Finding if you are in rapport, and have more commonalities than contradictory points of view, is the first part of everyone’s agenda. You often do this by asking others questions about where they are from, what schools they went to, who they study with, their degrees and then quickly devolve all the way down to favorite sports teams.

Storytelling, perceptions and interpretations are the key elements you use to define yourself both to you and others. Each of you, through genetic makeup, environmental influences and individual biochemistry, has managed to program yourself to be excellent at certain things, mediocre at others and quite honestly, just awful in other areas. So by understanding how you do what you do, it’s possible to learn how to change the way you perform in certain contexts or situations. The human mind filters all your input, data and information into categories. It first edits, shapes and deletes what we allow in from the outside. Then it distorts and embellishes the good parts to make our story stronger, and finally we take a few examples of a particular situation in a particular context and create a general principle from it. This is how learning occurs. And our minds prefer to use existing folders to put this new stuff into. It’s just easier and faster. That’s what our minds do before thinking of any new possibilities or allowing the creation of new habits. That’s the minds primary function, in regards to new things…it just sorts, deletes, embellishes and makes generalization!

When you become acutely aware of this process as a tool, once it becomes “Habitual”, you will find before the beginning of anything you do… all events, encounters, or opportunities, errands or auditions, you want to start asking yourself, “What is the outcome I want from this use of my time, energy and money and will it bring me closer to the completion of my plan?” Having this knowledge allows you to continually build and strengthen your Personal Brand, how others perceive you.

A key outcome from this new habit, this personal questioning, is you will come to be more discerning in all contexts. You will start making better choices for how you use your three key resources of time, energy, money. Plus this expanded context will improve the stories you tell (both to yourself and to others) because they will now be better aligned with your agendas, plans and incremental goals.

So in all new contexts and situations, make it easy for others to “sort” you into the categories you want them to remember you by. The quicker your relationships (new or old) can sort out your current input… the better and sooner they will understand you and your value to them at that moment! And, the better they understand you and your value to them the more likely they will be to support you, refer you, or confirm your worth to others! Bottom-line… only then will or can they help you build and spread your Brand!

What you let in helps mold what comes from inside yourself, your Personal Brand, as you communicate and behave in the world. It becomes the picture of how you interact with different environments or contexts. And the really great news is that you continually move, grow and respond to significant events in your life that can change how you choose to behave and think.

Now you know what I think, let me hear what you think about the subject.
Avanti! And, Ciao until next time. Carol

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