The First Law of Performance

May 13, 2011

This post is a continuation from my Introduction to The Three Laws of Performance.  Over the next three posts I will be writing about each of the three laws individually. So, let’s jump right in…
The First Law of Performance: How people perform correlates to how situations occur for them.
You might be asking what the word occur means in this context? Allow me to explain, how situations occur to you is derived from your individual experiences in life. These experiences and the meanings that you made from them shape the way you handle different situations in your life.  Your experiences have also shaped the way you see the future.
Zaffron and Logan explain it perfectly; “Consider that when we do something, it always makes complete sense to us. On the other hand, when others do something we often question, ‘Why are they doing that? It doesn’t make any sense!'”
In order to get a full grasp on the First Law, the authors suggested imagining a person in your life who you are currently unhappy with, or someone who you’ve disliked for a long time. In your mind, brainstorm some words that you would use to describe that person. Perhaps you say that they’re  “egotistical,” “close-minded,” “a terrible listener,” “selfish,” or “irrational.”  And to you these words are a 100% accurate description of that person. However, these words only describe how that person occurs to you and not the rest of the world.
Now, consider how that person would describe you? How do you occur for that person? Perhaps they might say that you are “bitter,” “annoying,” “overly-opinionated,” etc.
When you look at the situation from both parties’ perspective it’s easier to catch where the conflict arises. In this case, you dislike your coworker for how they occur to you, and they dislike you for how you occur to them. And essentially, you have changed how you interact with this person based on how they occur to you and this changes how you occur to them. You might think, “What came first- the chicken or the egg?” However, does it really matter?
So why does practicing the First Law (along with the other two laws) create breakthrough results in performance?
When we take a step back from our individual perspectives and look at situations from another person’s point of view we tend to see situations quite differently. When we see things from a bird’s eye view we are able to vision the end results and our created futures in a new way.
It’s never “what happened” that sets people off. It’s how “what happened” occurs for that person. You have to ask questions and make an effort to gain some insight into the other party’s world.
Up next: The Second Law of Performance


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