Opportunistic Reality

One of the areas I continue to bring into this conversation is reality. We are creating realities all the time, and don’t realize we are doing so. I look out the window and see a tree that is filled with spring buds and immediately have thoughts of new life, an emotional reaction of warmth and a mood of happiness. This reality is activated by my past experiences.

We are in a constant state of painting reality pictures and believing they are TRUE! This is the tricky part of reality.  If you present me with information or ideas that are inconsistent with my reality, I generally want to prove you wrong. After all, what kind of world will I have if my reality is proven false?

I do the same thing, of course. When I feel strongly about something, from my enjoyment of a movie, to the car I drive, to the food I’m preparing tonight, I want to convince you that this is the best. I use all sorts of techniques to get you to see things my way. My motivation is simple. If you agree with me, then I must be right. Having confirmation of my reality helps me feel peaceful.

Several small problems exist with this. First, just because one or more of you agree with my perceptions doesn’t mean they are true. It just means that we agree. The second issue is that my reality is based upon my suppositions, beliefs, opinions and experiences. This reality is personal and is, for the most part, not universally true. Yet, I have the tendency to expect my reality to be everyone’s worldview.  This perspective always leads to disappointment.

I was talking with a friend today about this topic and the notion of opportunistic reality arose.  Opportunistic reality occurs when my need to get something from you is so great that I completely “forget” my intrinsic values. An example of opportunistic reality is the need for profits by corporations that may override their stated concerns for factory worker safety. When I am in the distorted field of opportunistic reality, how I view worker safety is colored by my need.  If it has some negative impact on my profits to see otherwise, I will easily rationalize the level of worker safety to be adequate even if others, who aren’t under the influence of this reality, can easily see the risk workers are faced with.

This sort of opportunistic reality is part of politics in a strong way. Newt Gingrich, a current Republican candidate for president, has promised that as president, he will lower the price of gasoline to $2.50 a gallon. While former speaker Gingrich knows full well the president doesn’t have this power, he is living in an opportunistic reality to get badly needed voter support.

This is a fascinating topical area that I will be expanding my writing on over the months ahead. If you have examples of opportunistic reality, or have thoughts about it to share, please speak up. I have a sense we are on to a very important topic.

Until later,

Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

One thought on “Opportunistic Reality”

  1. I agree this is fascinating. I would submit we all succumb to it – some more than others. You know when you have succumbed when you feel guilt afterwards. If you rationalize the guilt away this is called denial. Yet I think it is ok to succumb from time to time. After all we are all human. If you feel the guilt, acknowledge the mistake, and move on, you acknowledge your humanity and can fight again another day with an unburdened conscience. Some would call this repenting. If you persist in denial that is when it becomes a problem for you and others, in more ways than you can grasp at once. Its scary when people in positions of power and influence live in denial.

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