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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1 Comment

  • At 2011.02.28 19:39, KJ said:

    Interesting and in many ways you are right – though the root of the problem, I believe, is that people generally do not like to be disagreed with. The art that needs to be learned is the art of listening and dissociating the identity of the self with the subject being talked about. That is a very hard thing to do, and I admire those who manage to do it gracefully.