This is an awareness test.
It takes only 50 seconds … but it could change your life (if video screen does not appear below, click here).
If you missed the moon walking bear, you experienced a process known as “selective perception,” which is the unconscious filtering of what we see and hear so as to match our personal expectations, desires, biases, or needs.
Most of us do it all the time. As a result, we miss a great deal of important relational information that is right in front of our eyes or ears …
- A troubled look on a spouse’s face. (Did she just find a lump in her breast?)
- A child who drops hints but walks away unheard. (Is he feeling pressure to do drugs or become sexually active?)
- A coworker who is unusually irritable. (Does she think you presented one of her ideas as your own?)
- A familiar store clerk who is unusually distracted. (Was her mother just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?)
- A church member who glances away in the foyer. (Is he struggling with sin or planning to seek another place to worship?)
- A boss who talks about “you” and “I” instead of “we” and “us.” (Does he think you’re no longer committed to the team?)
As the moonwalking bear demonstrated, it’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that you can change.
When you watched the video clip a second time, you saw the bear, didn’t you?
In just a few seconds, you learned to see something you’d missed moments before.
So you’ve already proven my point: you can learn to see and hear the subtle relational cues that the people around you are broadcasting every day.
By God’s grace, you can change from being blind and insensitive (or, in modern terms, “clueless”) to being discerning and compassionate.
But it’s not as simple as watching a video clip twice in a row. In real life, you’ve got to catch the clues the first time … because that’s usually all you get.
Watch and Learn
This ability is called “other-awareness.” It’s one of the six core skills of relational wisdom.
Would you like to develop it? Here are five ways you can do so.
- Pray that God would work in your heart and mind to help you put off your self-absorption and put on the sensitivity and discernment of Christ (John 13:15; Eph. 4:22-24; Eph. 5:1-2)
- Set an alarm on your Smartphone or computer that goes off every few hours to remind you to take your mind off yourself and focus thoughtfully on the people around you.
- Keep reading our Movie Blogs, which will provide regular opportunities to practice observing and hearing subtle relational cues.
- Host or attend a Discovering Relational Wisdom Seminar, where you can learn a variety of ways to improve your ability to read, understand, and engage other people.
- Attend our next RW Instructor Training and Certification Course where you can dig even deeper into the theological and neurological roots of other-awareness, and learn how to teach this vital skill to others in your church, ministry, or workplace.
Other-awareness is not something you can develop overnight. But with effective instruction and consistent effort, you can learn not only to see moon walking bears but also, and more importantly, to discern the thoughts and purposes of those around you (Prov. 20:5).
â€“ Ken Sande
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.
© 2013 Ken Sande
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