Thursday’s Thought: Perceptual Positions

Thursday's Thought

Sometimes we all need to take our shoes off and walk a mile in someone’s shoes to understand their point of view. That is so much more easier said than done. Some of us can do that naturally and some of us refuse to do it at all. But like most things in life it is a skill that can be learned. The reason why this is so important is because if you can change your perceptual position, the most complex situations can be understood and handled. You can learn how to use the tools provided by NLP’s Perceptional Positions exercises. Our thinking would be very flawed if it were not logical, it is also the case if our perception is faulty which is why we need to think about all possible points of views available.

Consider this Excerpt from Edward De Bono’s book “I Am Right You Are Wrong”

Unfortunately, many people with a high intelligence actually turn out to be poor thinkers. They get caught in the ‘intelligence trap’, of which there are many aspects. For example, a highly intelligent person may take up a view on a subject and then defend that view (through choice of premises and perception) very ably. The better someone is able to defend a view, the less inclined is that person actually to explore the subject. So the highly intelligent person can get trapped by intelligence, together with our usual sense of logic that you cannot be more right than right, into one point of view. The less intelligent person is less sure of his or her rightness and therefore more free to explore the subject and other points of view.

A highly intelligent person usually grows up with a sense of that intellectual superiority and needs to be seen to be ‘right’ and ‘clever’. Such a person is less willing to risk creative and constructive ideas, because such ideas may take a time to show their worth or to get accepted. Highly intelligent people are often attracted to the quick pay-off of negativity. If you attack someone else’s ideas or thinking, there can be an immediate achievement together with a useful sense of superiority. In intellectual terms attack is also cheap and easy because the attacker can always choose the frame of reference.


What I am trying to say is that before you start defending your ideas, explore different points of views, other people’s perspectives and different possibilities. Because it doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong as long as we are all on the right path together.

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Walk like an Egyptian

When we first moved to Scotland, it was just my luck that a few years ago The Bangles had a hit song called “Walk like an Egyptian”. [WikipediaYouTube]. I was taunted endlessly with that song. Whenever the kids heard I was Egyptian I’d get the full dance and song routine. Being 10 at the time and very proud of my heritage (I still am proud but definitely not 10 anymore) I would correct them and tell them that wasn’t how we walked.

Today, I will walk like an Egyptian.
A tall and proud Egyptian. Not just proud because of the revolution, but proud because it is deserved. Because my people are great, my country is great and my heritage is beyond great.

I will walk like an Egyptian to inspire the coming generation to walk even taller and prouder than I do.
My country’s flag has been hanging proud in my car for a year now. I was proud even before the revolution. Today, I am asking you all to hold your head up high, to straighten your back and don’t hunch your shoulders.

You are what you believe you are.

Today in my history

3 years ago, right about now, was born. It was a normal day, well not so normal. I woke up, woke my husband up and we were getting ready to go out for breakfast and then I was going to work. My back was killing me since the day before but I still wasn’t due in till another week. I called my doc and she said she would like to see me. To make a long story short, I went through all the labor pain and then went in for an emergency C section. Too much info right?

Well it is my blog, and I have decided to stop self censoring myself.

And suddenly I had a little baby girl. All the reading in the world does not prepare you for the actual moment when you find a child in your arms. And I am not going to go all sappy and tell you that children are the nicest thing since the age of dinosaurs, because well, before I had her, I disliked kids.

I still don’t enjoy the company of too many noisy kids at the same time. And yes she exhausts me sometimes but it is a lot like a roller coaster ride. You know you might throw up and you know you will be so scared you just might shit your pants, but it is still an exhilarating experience that most of us are willing to go through.

Sometimes she totally drives me insane when she just won’t behave. Like last night, she just flat out refused to go to bed. Sometimes all the talking is so exhausting. I feel like a broken record. Or when she decides to fall asleep at 6pm and wake up at 4 am in the morning. I think I haven’t had any decent sleep since she was born. Then there was the time she decided to smear my favorite body cream all over the duvet. Ah well, just another day in the life of a toddler’s mother.

Two days ago she came running and gave me a kiss and said ‘el boosa beta3tek gat’ your kiss just arrived. And that is why it is worth it.

And on your next birthday call your mom and say thank you to her.

She celebrated her birthday at her nursery (yay no clean up for me and lots of help too). It was a Hello Kitty themed party.
Curious? Click here.

Friday’s Five: Giving back

I posted a Friday’s Five yesterday because I spaced out and in my defense it felt like a Friday :-)

It is time we start giving back to the community.  Most people naturally give money to charity as Sadaqa or Zakat but sometimes giving things other than money might be more useful.

  1. Start a company outreach program.  If you are a business owner, consider training more interns or organizing free classes in your field to help the unemployed gain vocational knowledge that might help them find a job.
  2. Buy products made locally.  I’ve probably said this before and I will keep saying it.  Buying local products helps the economy, helps create jobs, increases cash flow in the country and also has another super important benefit.  It reduces carbon footprint, because the products you buy don’t need to travel half way around the world.   If you can recommend a good Egyptian product please link it up in the group.
  3. Related to the previous point, if you use local product and you think it could be improved contact the producer.  This helps producers improve their products.  Just remember to be polite, objective and to the point.
  4. Donate old books.  School books can go to organizations like Resala so they can help the less fortunate study.
  5. Volunteer. Volunteer, VOLUNTEER.  Volunteering your time is an amazing experience.  It is very fulfilling because you can actually see how you are helping people right away.  It also helps increase your awareness and compassion towards whatever area you are working in.  It is always easy to give money, you hand over your cash and walk away and forget all about it.  But when you spend time working on issues you believe in, your attitude is altered substantially.  I am pretty certain that people who have taken part in local street cleanups will find it very difficult in the future to litter.

Friday’s Five: Five ways the Egyptians have amazed me since Jan25

  1. They revolted.  I thought that since it had never happened before it would never happen and that we were genetically mutated and a non revolting nation.
  2. The amount of creativity was absolutely AMAZING.  Music, artwork, stand up comedy and everything else.  If the same rate of creativity continues I am sure Egypt can be totally transformed.
  3. Seeing normal people clean the streets.  I hate litter. I HATE LITTER.  Is it clear?  I always keep a plastic bag to keep wrappers and empty cans so I can throw it away when I find a trash can.  It is that simple.
  4. The amount of conspiracy theories that have come out.  What is even more amazing, is the number of people who are willing to believe them too.  Most of those theories belong in science fiction books.
  5. The stand taken by Egyptian expatriates all over the world.  A new sense of pride, solidarity, belonging and ownership emerged.

Happy Friday everyone.

Raising little Egyptians

The older generation would never had imagined that they raised the generation that would start the spark that changed Egypt forever

Lets all try to:

  1. Be more patient with our children.  Don’t yell.  Listen more.  You have no idea how impressed you might be when you just give them a chance.
  2. Help them explore the world.  Children are curious by nature, do not squash it.
  3. Accept that they might stray from the more accepted paths and let them follow their dreams.
  4. Give them the freedom to do what they love.
  5. Teach them honesty by example.  Do not lie to them or tells lies.  Children see, children do.
  6. Help them be creative.  Who cares if they make a mess?  If you are really worried that they make a mess, teach them to clean after themselves, lay out old newspapers so they keep the place clean.  The amount of creativity that exploded during a time of stress and difficulty during the protests has me totally blown away.
  7. Give them chores.  Even toddlers can learn how to pick up their toys.  Good habits are a gift for life.
  8. Teach them responsibility.  A responsible generation is a successful one.
  9. Teach them to give.  Twice a year ask them to give away toys and clothes.  Children are naturally compassionate, help them learn how to express it in a more useful way.
  10. Teach them good manners.  Saying please and thank you, opening doors, being polite and the rest of those good manners really can take you very far in life.
  11. Have faith in them.  They already have faith in you, it should be mutual.

Questions for for Egyptian psychologists

I have a theory, that Egyptians have been conditioned to be afraid.  Very afraid.  Not just for the last 30 years but ever since Abdul Nasser became the president.  This is why everyone has been silent for so long.  I also think it is why some people are terrified at the thought of the government’s collapse.  We were conditioned to be afraid of the Mulsim Brotherhood, evil Zionist plots, job loss, American meddling and so many other things.  It is why we love conspiracy theories and believe them.  It is why most of us are passive.  Whenever someone decides to do something out of the box they are usually attacked.  For example people quitting jobs and chasing dreams are usually attacked because they decided to leave the stability of a monthly paycheck.  I wonder if this was the plan all along or if this was a byproduct of years of autocracy.

I myself have battled irrational fears and I understand how fear works.  It is crippling.  It is very difficult to fight your own fear.

My questions for Egyptian psychologists are:

1.  Are some people suffering from Stockholm syndrome?

2.  Have we been conditioned to be afraid?

3.  What are the short term effects of a revolution on the population?

4. What are the long term effects of a revolution?

5.  Can we break the barriers of fear?

6.  Will we see a change in Egyptian society?  Having watched people become more responsible and caring, will this be a long term change, or will people go back to their old ways once the dust settles?

7. How will relationships between family members change?  Will children be more vocal with their parents?

8.  Will we see a change in the Power Distance Index in Egypt?  Will employees be more willing to confront employers when they see something wrong?

Egyptians Abroad – How to help Egypt right now

I am not going to go into my political beliefs or what I think people should do or think.

But, right now the economy needs a boost so can you please consider the following:

1.  Invest in the Egyptian stock market when it reopens.  It doesn’t matter if it is a huge amount or a small amount, if enough people pitch in, we can all help.

2.  Buy Egyptian products.  I live in Kuwait and there are lots of products here that are Egyptian made or produced in Egypt.  I will try to buy more of those.  Again if lots of people make the consious decision to buy Egyptian I am certain it can help a bit.

3. Since we can’t get a voting card right now, we should start raising the issue of voting using our ID cards and in embassies around the world or by proxy.  Even if I am not in Egypt, I am a citizen and I deserve a vote.

4.  Read the constitution.  In most countries, school children study their constitutions and know what their rights are.  It is time we educate ourselves.

5.  Act responsibly. We want to get rid of all the negative stereotypes that have long been associated with Egyptians.

I am sure we can think of more, any suggestions?