The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, March 10, 2017

PERCEPTION SHOUTS – reality whispers…


A person can show great proficiency without exhibiting imagination but an individual will never exercise their imagination by simply accomplishing the work assigned without asking “why” (or, “why not”).  Delivering a standard or anticipated response to a directive often satisfies those willing to do nothing more than the minimum. An understanding of what must be done as well as a verbalization of what might yet be accomplished is demonstrated when one researches enough – or is interested enough – to ask “why not?”  It seems that we often believe what we see without ever looking beneath the surface to identify “the other side of the story.”  Why is it that reality can seem so distant and removed from our everyday existence while what we think and feel - what we perceive - can become such an overpowering force in our lives?

Given the choice between being a “doer” or a “visionary,” between being “realistic” or  “lost in dreams,” many would prefer to hold tightly to the concrete – to those things that can be seen, touched, considered and accomplished.  I would prefer to live within my imagination than within my reality – to do those things that I might conceptualize rather than those that have been previously accomplished – yet in life our imagination is often tempered by our perceived sense of reality. 

A realist accepts what can be defined and demonstrated – rarely “making waves” or disrupting the status quo – being content to accomplish the dreams and desires of others.  Many people live within a sheltered world of previous accomplishments, dwelling in thoughts of the safe places that brought them happiness and security RATHER THAN seeking new beginnings and opportunities upon an uncharted path. When life is contained within established thoughts of “what is” and memories of “what has been,” can one ever realize his or her full potential – can he or she even identify “what could be but has not yet been considered?”  When our perceptions of comfort, success and accomplishment become a destination rather than a starting point for a new journey, how can we acknowledge the quiet whispers of a changing reality?  True innovation (and success) springs from those who imagine what has not yet been proven for they will accept nothing less than the great things they know can be accomplished in this world.

While our memories are necessary to remind us of what we have accomplished – of the things we can do – our dreams provide an indication of what has yet to be, leading us to places not yet discovered. As we bring today’s dreams to fruition, they become tomorrow’s memories, leaving behind the safety and stability that yesterday provided.  Only when we cast off the limitations of “what is” or “what was,” walking away from the perceptions of reality that we construct by choosing to reach for the promise and possibility of things not yet imagined, will we be able to bring to fruition our dreams.  When we truly consider how things might be different, believing that just because something “was” or “is” does not mean it will “always be,” the soft call of a reality far removed from the oppressive perceptions that dominate our everyday lives will begin to be heard.

For you who find fulfillment within the "way things are" and travel obediently upon the straight and narrow path that leads to a defined destination – good for you!  The world needs individuals that will “do without questioning” as it seeks to fulfill the mundane tasks required to close out each day while moving towards a new and predictable tomorrow.  The world needs people to fulfill the expectations of others and find comfort in the perceptions of peace and tranquility that a complacent life can create.  For those unwilling to live another’s vision or accept another’s explanation of “why” as they seek their own “why not,” however, endless possibilities that have yet to be imagined are waiting to become reality.  In whatever you do, look beyond the obvious to experience all that life might provide.  Seek what might be “possible” rather than settling for what might be the “probable” solution.  We need only our eyes to see that what we perceive as being real – and our ears to hear what others say is acceptable – but casting and pursuing a vision which defines a new reality requires our imagination.  We must imagine what might be possible THEN act intentionally to bring that vision to fruition IF we are to rise above our perceptions of accomplishment by managing the risk that prevents us from identifying, reaching for and realizing the potential of new realities in life.
 

A brave new world awaits those willing to question the things that are held as true because of past practice or long-accepted policy - those courageous enough to act in a manner not yet imagined by others to accomplish things not yet considered possible. While known actions result in predictable results, untested and unproven actions cause equal and opposite reactions - creating new opportunities and fresh challenges that will transform things once considered only possible yesterday into probable advances as we move towards tomorrow – allowing us to move from a perceived sense of reality to one that is quietly (and confidently) new.