Archive for September, 2012

Go Deeper than the Behavior

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

There is a lot of wisdom in these words taken from Luke 6:44 and 45. I think the message is universally true regardless of one’s religious views about the bible. The main idea in the verse is that there is something more deeply rooted in our actions than just looking at the behavior. The hypothesis is that our actions whether good or bad emanate from our “hearts”.

Based on this hypothesis, to change our actions we need to look into our “hearts”. Let me go on a limb to say that heart has to do with our thoughts and belief systems. That is our actions are in fact on auto-pilot based on deep seated beliefs, preconceptions, assumptions and the lenses through which we see the world. For example:

  • If you see yourself as a victim, you will have actions and behaviors that are completely different than others who see themselves as winners.
  • If you see the glass as half empty, your demeanor and attitude will reflect that
  • If you feel that you have always been average all of your life, your actions and behaviors will be that of someone who is always average. Note that being average in school or average in terms of talents in one’s family is not a predictor of success or future greatness. But the erroneous assumption that somehow because you have been receiving average grades in school mean that you are an “average person” and hence bound to be average the rest of your life could be dictating your attitude and your actions.
  • If you think that everyone is a liar, then it’s very likely that you are also a liar.

As parents, friends, brother, sister, spouse or supervisor and for ourselves, we look at a behavior such as someone who lies constantly or someone who is unethical and want to change that behavior without asking questions such as: Why does this person engage in the undesirable behavior? Is there something about how they view the world, past experience, assumptions and beliefs?

The bottom line is that to change someone’s behavior or the behavior of a group of people, we need to look into the operating system including: thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and experience that may affect perception about the world.

September 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm 1 comment


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