Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sales and expectations

As we wait for the first weekend when it truly feels like spring has arrived (promised for this weekend), it's a good time to think about how our expectations create filters for what we perceive. This isn't quite the same as arguing, as The Secret does, that we always get what we expect (the object of our attention). It's more like arguing that expectations create frames - like window frames - that determine some of what we see through them.

This weekend, we are running a training that goes from about 9 am to at least 6 pm on Saturday and on Sunday. Many people have a frame that says eight hours is a work day and nine hours is a long day. They also expect training to be draining - and a long training day to be especially draining. Some people only know that they have achieved something when it tires them out. Some people assume that training is related to the kind of physical work-out that really "burns." These people do not necessarily want to relax and rejuvenate: they want to feel the pain so that they can get the gain.

It is, of course, possible that a nine hour training day could feel like a nine hour cruise over quiet waters. It's possible that people can move forward without any sense of strain or discomfort. It's possible for progress to be as natural and effortless as the blooming of the buds on the trees as the sun becomes warm.

Is it possible for people who expect to be drained at the end of the day? Yes - once they are in the midst of the experience, their expectations may change. Expectations do change - even the adult brain is plastic, changing patterns and functions as a matter of course.

Is it possible for people who expect training to be draining to understand a promise that training will be refreshing? Probably not - until they have an experience that allows their expectations to be different, they cannot connect with challenges to those expectations. Given a cruise ship, they need to dive into the water and swim.

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