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Posts Tagged ‘perceptions

Do some descendants of our former colonial masters think that Singapore is part of China? That was the impression I got when I read this article.

A video recording crew travelled all the way here from the British isles only to discover that their footage looked like it could have been shot at home. So they decided to get a post-production house to digitally alter signs in English to Chinese.

I could also point out that the article was edited after my screen capture (compare my tweet with the article) without adding a footnote about this change, but that is not the purpose of my reflection.

My reflection is about how perceptions drive reality. If people believe something outdated and inaccurate but do not check against reality or newer information, they will continue to shape their realities to fit their beliefs.

More disconcertingly, if people want to perpetuate their mistaken beliefs, they will do so, even if presented with more current and conflicting information.

To be clear, Singapore is not in China, we have a Chinese majority but our lingua franca is English, and some of us might speak and write better English than “native” users.

My design manta has always been this: Mindsets shape expectations, expectations dictate behaviour. If we do not change mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes), we cannot hope to change actions, environments, or cultures.

I cannot change your behaviour if I do not first help you change your mind.

This is why I try to address mindsets when I have short term engagements like seminars or workshops. I try to attack the tip of the brain; the change makers I influence have to deal with the long tail of expectations and behaviours.


Video source

Spoiler: Six photographers shot portraits of the same man. They were told different things about who the man was and their perspectives were reflected in the photos they took.

For example, when photographed as a millionaire, the man appeared powerful and authoritative. But when viewed as an ex-convict, the portrait was dark and menacing.

It is just as easy for teachers to not look beyond the labels they paste on their students. Underachiever. Talented. So-and-so’s child. Nobody. Talks a lot. Wallflower.

How many of these labels become self-fulfilling prophecies? How many teachers take the time to listen to their students? If they act like the photographers did to the man, their assumptions will shape their treatments of their students.

Perceptions matter because they shape mindsets. Mindsets then become actions. What filters your perceptions?


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