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The Two Kinds of Psychology

People think and behave differently in certain situations. It can be hard to understand your interlocutor’s point of view if you don’t understand his way of thinking. This can lead to misperceptions and conflicts, which will make it more difficult to work together successfully. The following blog will help you to understand those different ways of thinking and how to prevent them to have any negative effect on your collaboration.

 

There are two kinds of thinking in which you and I engage…we are either focused externally or internally. They are bothto our survival but each comes with an equal cost.

If you engage in externally focused thinking it enables you to be more aware of what is going on around you but the cost is you can ignore what is going on inside yourself.

Conversely if you engage in internally focused thinking it enables you to be more aware of what is going on inside yourself but the cost is you can miss what is going on outside of yourself.

External focused thinking is sometimes called, “The Old Psychology” because it was given priority for a long time historically up to about 1960 focused on studying how to control other people. Internal focused thinking, which came after that in the history of psychology is called “The New Psychology” and focuses on studying how to control ourselves.

External Focus

If you use externally focused thinking you tend to be more concerned with what is going on outside of yourself. You do this to protect yourself. If you do it too often according to others you can be viewed as being too controlling; avoiding your own responsibilities; or forcing others to do things.

Internal Focus

If you use internally focused thinking you tend to be more concerned with what is going on inside yourself. You also do this to protect yourself. If you do it too often according to others you can be viewed as self absorbed, avoiding the needs of others or not caring about others.

Both Are Necessary

Both external and internal focuses are necessary for your survival and for communicating with others. Being able to switch comfortably from one to the other is an especially important skill you need in dealing with difficult people.

Your Value System Determines Your Reality

Your current perception of the world is your version of reality. Your reality is colored by your value system. Your value system is your version of what is good and bad based on your specific life experiences. So your version of reality is unique to you. And so is everyone else’s. So there inso common reality. Our relationships are for us to negotiate a common or more similar one.

Personal Perceptions Create Conflict

So, your intention may not be noticed by another person because they are using their unique value system to judge your behaviour. Their misperception of your intention or your misperception of their intention are the basis of your conflicts with people.

Seven Costs to Misperceptions

Your misperception of others or their misperception of you have at least seven significant affects:

1. Destroys Respect
2. Undermines Trust
3. Creates Resentment
4. Damages Relationships
5. Reduces Team Spirit, Energy and Focus
6. Destroys Productivity
7. Destroys Organizations

 

This article is based on the following eBook from Ken Pierce:
“Dealing with difficult people”

Dealing With Difficult People