The Three Lenses

22 Oct

Throughout my ten years of life in school, I have encountered various kinds of people and to be honest, difficult people do exist. I am a sensitive person so the way others react to me has great effects on me. Hence I was immediately attracted by this Harvard Business Review article about ways to deal with difficult people.

The  three lenses Tony Schwartz introduced are extremely useful: “the lens of realistic optimism, the reverse lens, and the long lens.” We can’t change the way others treat us, but we can change the way we view the reality by using the lenses. I benefited a lot from reading this article. Before I read it, if I had to work with a difficult person, I would simply accept the reality and try my best to stand that person, meanwhile hoping that everything can end soon. However, after reading this article, the next time I have to work with a difficult person, I will not react the way I used to do. I will think the situation in a more positive way and think from the angle of that difficult person’s point of view.

For example, I usually feel terrible and ignored when others don’t respond to me after I have said something. I might think more positively—such as “that person probably just didn’t hear what I said because he was thinking about some other stuff important to him.” The last thing I will do–which is also the most important–is that I will think of how I can “learn and grow” from working with this person. Even if something bad really happens, I will tell myself that if one door closes, another will open for you.

by Shumeng Wang


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