Character and Attitude
Winnie the Pooh has quite the cast of characters with various personalities that depict common characteristics and attitudes of everyday people. I am amazed how the A.A. Milne the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories disguised a common set of typical characteristics and attitudes found people that we encounter often in our daily lives into children’s books. The book series has a dual value for the adults reading these books and for the children who are listening. As the adult reads the story the adult mind can possibly relate a real person in their life to a certain charter either various friends, or associates at work that resemble almost each of the characters in the book. You can almost look at any level of your social circles in business or personal and find each of these characters represented in that circle. Pooh the happy minded bear that seems oblivious to many of the things that are happening in life around him. Piglet a dear friend that is often afraid and worrisome. Rabbit a total type “A” personality of people that need to control their world and yours. Roo, the young, energetic and adventurous Kangaroo who is all about discovering the world anew each day. Eeyore the ho/hum grey day donkey that seems to always have a little black rain cloud nearby for any moment. Then Tigger, the ADHD energy wonder that bounds through the world like a pinball hitting various things at any one given moment. You might find yourself in a meeting when you mind starts to wander thinking who in the meeting represents which character, or how many are the same of one character there is in the meeting. Be careful because when you start to smile, everyone will wonder why you are grinning.
How do we handle ourselves in this adventure we call life. Often it is said that people are looking at this at half full or half empty. One rarely considers the fact that we spend probably 50% being one way and 50% being the other way depending on the situation and the circumstances. It subtly creeps in how we respond to someone not really considering that we are leaning to empty versus full. I have experienced myself going from full to empty as a conversation unfolds. I find myself vacillating up and down as more information is added to the conversation. I can sometimes like, not like, like, not like the idea multiple times before I give my indication of my thoughts. Like and dislikes often are masked in the lack of belief that the project can be successful, and often the one proposing it from their vantage point see the glass completely full.
Emotions are triggered often by words and images that form a position on a topic that can galvanize a personal vantage point related to a topic and when that topic comes up any time in the future we use our vantage point filter from the past finding it difficult to move away from that perception. “Whatever” is a common word/phrase said by many people with a variety of tonal and facial expression depending on the severity of the situation. The phrase takes on many manifestations: “I do not care that you have just told me something about myself that you do not like.” “I do not care that you are going someplace to have fun but you are not inviting me.” “I do not care that where you are going is fun, that is not where I want to go to have fun.” It is amazing that a word such as “whatever” ( a guise for I do not care), can also represent a person saying; “I wanted to be included in the decision”. “I wanted to be heard in the decision making process.” I wish that before you assume and state what I am feeling can’t you simply ask me how I feel about the situation.”
The word attitude itself has a list of various meanings when someone says change your attitude; bad, controlling, polarizing, upset, apathetic, down, or many other single word adjuncts. Your attitude is amazing; great, happy, joyful, compromising, friendly, hopeful and this list also can go on. One word has its Yin/Yang, up/down, and even bipolar emphasis.
We were in a discussion regarding a particular region of Pakistan and discovered that there are strong stereotypical perceptions of the people that live in region by other Pakistani’s living outside of that region. In the midst of discussion you could sense the total fear and concern of some people in the room regarding performing any services of relief or help for the people in the region since the perception for doing anything in the region would not be accepted since the people are not interested in any outside assistance. The individuals leading the discussion had various different personal inputs and or personal experience on the topic that dispelled the misconception of the people in the region since those that had the concerns were only responding to what they had heard about the people since they themselves had never worked with or in the region being discussed.
Third party communication through the news media in television or print can create attitudes that become galvanized vantage points by what we hear and read. This third party vantage point development can elicit specific response towards people thus soliciting and expected response from those people. The idea of a self fulfilling prophecy is similar to this dynamic of attitude and misperceptions. When we encounter people that can share second hand their own person experience and see that they have an authentic personal experience and vantage point it is important to begin to adjust a third party vantage point due to the interaction of the people that are communicating their own actual experience.
It is hard to imagine in all the noise from the news media outlets that what I have experienced, what I have written about is really truly an accurate perception of Pakistan. When I was walking through the destruction of the villages in Pakistan due to the floods, the question came to mind, why do we see the devastation of the streets of Haiti, the dead bodies in Haiti being loaded into trucks for mass graves, and the new outbreaks of cholera and not any footage of media walking through these villages where people are almost freezing to death. As we entered one village Noor, Naeems oldest daughter encountered and older woman who when she saw our group arrive came up to Noor as Noor looked into her eye realized that this women needed a hug. When Noor embraced this woman she placed her head on Noor’s shoulder and began to weep. A willing attitude to see the world as it is not how others perceive it is critical in restoring people’s lives that are desperate for help.