Johnny Depp is best known for his interpretation of wacko characters.That wasn’t always the case. If you want to see him play an ordinary person, an accountant, watch Nick of Time.
Your interpretation is the meaning you assign to anything. It’s your M.O. It’s based on your filters, your goals and what you believe is possible (aka your world view). Your interpretation determines what you pay attention to, what you expect to happen, and the way you talk about it. "It" can be something that happened, or a message.
For example: not getting that job you knew you were perfect for. Just 3 possible interpretations are: a) you are a loser and completely incompetent; b) there is something better for you right around the corner; c) what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Question: How do you know which interpretation is the right one?
Answer: The right interpretation is the one that moves you forward. Real motives are complex and even contradictory, so trying to determine what something really means from a perspective that’s 100% objective is futile.
Inviting other people to choose empowering interpretations is the essence of leadership. This is the ultimate communication challenge. (We teach this at the Mixonian.)
Roughly a year ago my son, Lea, then a senior engineering student at East Carolina University, had flown down to Houston to scope out their hot job market. He stayed with one of my brothers, who introduced him to a number of his buddies, all of whom work in the oil and/or engineering or recruiting businesses.
I called my brother and got the best news possible, that Lea had met with several executives who suggested both companies and people for him to contact. I called my son, who sighed and said he didn’t think he would be able to get a job in Houston. Same person, same trip, two vastly different interpretations (same audience but different motives.)
The presidential debates highlight the performances of our two candidates and media interpretations shape our own interpretations of those performances. Same country, same economy, two vastly different interpretations….for different audiences.
A recent research study from Northwestern University hit the New York Times. Two groups of students took a test that measure their attention to detail (not an intelligence test) One group of students wore their regular clothes and the other group took the test while wearing a physician’s lab coat. The second group outperformed by 50%.
In a follow-up study, two groups of students took the same test that measuring their attention to detail. They all wore lab coats. The first group was told they were wearing painter coats and the second group was told they were wearing physician lab coats. The second group outperformed by 30%.
Why does wearing a physician’s lab coat make a college student pay more attention? It’s a function of what that student interprets or associates with the garment: intelligence, performance, responsibility.
It’s also proof that what you wear matters.
Interpretations that save energy filter out everything beyond your scope of control.
(If you can’t do anything about it, like the weather, you’re wasting energy when you interpret it as a problem or an obstacle.)
Interpretations that make money filter all problems as opportunities.
Problems facilitate your destiny. No problems, no jobs, no solutions, no wealth creation.
Interpretations that change the world filter out "reality as it currently exists" and only show possibilities.
It takes a lot of guts to interpret this way but every game changer does it. (e.g. Facebook, Apple, Starbucks. Are you in?)
Check out the FREE download The Success Guide To Life Interpreting.