Perceptions

January 19, 2016 by Mike Ficher

perception-illusionOur son moved into the dorms at the University of Oregon in late September to begin his freshman year. Go Ducks!

In addition to the raging current of emotions in my heart and the non-stop slide show of images and memories racing through my mind, I thought a little fatherly wisdom might be appropriate.

Along with the usual slogan-ready admonitions of study hard, have fun, stay focused, smile, laugh, spend smartly and embrace and be in every moment, I concluded that pragmatic advice about the world might also be beneficial. After all, I have a few years and many more experiences on the kid! Right?

What could I offer that might be of value as Cameron ventures onto the next phase of his life?

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” – African proverb

Cameron intends to major in sports management and the University of Oregon—yes, with that little Nike connection—offers one of the strongest programs in the country.

Like so many aspects of life, networking is a huge component of success in the field. What you know is important, but in the age of the Internet—with apologies to Donald Rumsfeld—knowing where to go to get what you need to know, connecting what you know with who may benefit by knowing the information and, more critically, who you know, is often paramount for livelihood and success.

To that end, Cameron is pledging a fraternity, has earned a spot on the university’s club varsity Ultimate Frisbee team, actively seeks to meet fellow students in classes and intends to join the sports management club.

An outstanding start.

“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rogers

When I played shortstop on a softball team for a few years, my range was a huge asset, my footwork excellent, my arm suspect. However, when our first baseman was asked about throws, Tom replied, “When he needs to get the ball there in a hurry, the ball is there.” Acknowledging when you need to tender a memorable first impression is critical.

While not trying to place undue pressure on a youth, we have noted with alacrity situations where, as my wife expresses it, “You need to nail this one.” Yes, all first impressions are important, but the reality is, some are more important than others. Nailing those can create an abundance of success.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Sometimes, the simplest, most appreciated gesture is an unattached expression of gratitude. As part of COTV’s broadcasts of high school football and basketball games, which I serve as the play-by-play voice, we offer a pre-game show with one or two guests from the community or one or both of the participating schools.

After each game, I send a thank you email to each guest, a note of gratitude for their appearance. They had a choice—they could have said no.

Respecting the gift of time and generosity goes a long way toward nurturing relationships and, well, just feels really good.

“Don’t do something permanently stupid because you are temporarily upset.” – Unknown

In the world of social media and smart phones, where bluster is often more valued than thoughtfulness, with ready immediacy to so many powerful tools, our impulses and emotions can sometimes take heedless advantage of their presence.

Life rarely travels in neat lines. Like rivers over geologic time, relationships and opportunities re-form, take new shape, and cross over into uncharted territories.

The individuals, couples and groups that may, at one time, seemed inconsequential, may hold the key to a successful venture or key pass-through. Keeping those rivers flowing is valuable.

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.” – Elon Musk

We live in a world wrought with unfounded perceptions, questionable assertions and rampant infatuation with opinions over facts.

Whether we like that situation or not, we have to deal with the reality. We can guide, mentor, educate, and inform to try and share a different reality, but, we may have to live and work within the existing perceptions.

Helping create a solid perception of yourself, your reliability, your work ethic, what you have to offer may go a long way toward achieving life goals.

Have I always succeeded actively in all these areas? Hardly. However, a significant part of my success in my many ventures in life can be attributed to the consistent application of many of these ideas.

After all, I have a few years and many more experiences on the kid! Right?

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Mike Ficher Mike Ficher (11 Posts)

A business analyst by day, Mike Ficher is an actor, voice artist, emcee, sportscaster, public address announcer and former mobile entertainer. He hosts the weekly syndicated radio program, The Ultimate Oldies Show, which synthesizes these varied experiences to illuminate historic connectivity and provide fresh perspectives on the mobile entertainment profession. More info at www.mikeficher.com.


Filed Under: Issue, Issue #168, Personal Development