Imagine for a moment that two people are attending the same event. One walks into the room with the excitement of meeting new people and networking. She is excited about what may unfold; the other, feeling insecure, dreads the event. She fears it will be awkward and that small talk will not come easily. Strangely enough, that is exactly what happens. The first person has a fabulous time, meets dozens of new people, is memorable and leaves the event feeling exhilarated. The 2nd person, chooses to arrive late and leave early, to spend as little time as possible in an uncomfortable environment. Oddly, each person experiences the exact same event differently, but exactly as their initial context would have predicted. Why is that?
It is because our context sets off a whole chain of predictable events. Our context is what we believe about something, it is our internal speak, our expectations that we set about something or someone. The funny thing about context is that it works in a very predictable way to create results.
When we assess a situation, we look at it form our particular point of context. What we see and hear, our assessment, depends on our context. In our example, the first person walks in and sees everyone smiling and laughing and is excited to join the conversation. The second person walks in and assesses the situation whereby everyone already has a group and she is not a part of it. She doesn’t know what they are talking about and believes she will not fit in.
The emotions are created based on our assessment of a situation. The first woman feels emotions related to excitement, energy, enthusiasm and, perhaps, most importantly, belonging. The second woman feels emotions related to insecurity, fear, loneliness and lack of belonging. Both set of emotions have been reinforced by their assessment of the situation.
Behaviors require action. However, the actions we choose are a direct reflection on the context, behaviors and emotions that preceded them. One woman spends time moving from group to group, contributing to each conversation. The other woman joins one group, quietly listens, does not feel comfortable contributing and decides to escape the uncomfortableness and leaves the event early.
Results and outcomes
Last in the chain of events comes results. Results are what we make happen or allow to happen to us- the choice is ours. In both cases, the initial context has been reaffirmed. The first woman is likely to go to another event- she perceives that everyone liked her and she made new contacts. The second woman confirmed that these types of events are uncomfortable, that groups form quickly, and she does not possess the social skills to join in.
Think, for a moment, about the recent results in your life and the context you have that precedes them. Could the results have been changed if your context had been different? Don’t you owe it to yourself to try?