He explained one instance when he was on the subway in New York. The car of the subway was subdued and quiet. When the train stopped, a man and his unruly kids got on the subway car. His children were being disruptive and obnoxious and Covey leaned over to the man and said, "Sir, can you contain your children? They are being quite disruptive."
The man gently responded "Okay. We just got back from the hospital where they're mother just died. I guess I can try to contain them..."
Covey was immediately filled with compassion and sympathy.
That experience of Covey's got me thinking about my own experiences.
How many times have I done that?
How many times have I judged and not known the situation?
Covey explains that it's what we see that's flawed. Our perception is based on outward appearances and lacks real and authentic truth.
Covey also goes on to explain the Character Ethic and the Personality Ethic. The Personality Ethic is based on outward appearances. Things that are very temporary and short-term, while the Character Ethic is based on integrity and your character and is long-term.
Covey explains that perception is only based on what we see and we think that if people don't see it that way that they are wrong.
I do this all the time.
I think that there is only one way...the way I see it is correct and there can be no other correct way, which isn't true!
Example: Yesterday, I texted one of my friends and I asked him about one of my other friends. I was frustrated with this particular friend and wanted to know why they were being so obnoxious.
I can't give specifics, but he told me a detail about my friend that changed my perception.
Instead of being annoyed or frustrated, I felt like I needed to be kinder. Because I knew that back story about my particular friend, I was able to see my situation clearer.
Perception is SOO important! Harsh judgments can be made about people and those harsh judgements will stick with us forever until something changes our perception.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to snuggle up and read my book!