The condition of a human being is a physical and tangible expression of emotion, spirit, mentality, and physicality. Together with this physical expression, there is an intangible expression of character, existence, emotion, and feelings that we do not physically see. A person’s growth, experiences, and belief influences the very essence of their ‘condition’ as a human being.

To the left, we see a picture, a graphic, a depiction of the silhouette of the human being. This demonstration reveals the physical bone structure that is common to all human beings. The imagery around the bone is flesh. Flesh, blood, and bones are three common elements of the mammalian species. However, we mammals are quite different from one another in functionality. Mammals include, but are not limited to, elephants, bats, dolphins, rabbits, rats, kangaroos, cows, baboons, and humans. We all have these three common elements. However, all of us are not BUILT to hop and leap like the rabbit. We are not all equal to swim the ocean with proficiency, like the dolphin. We do not all way several tons, as the elephant, with the power to crush most living creatures. And we all do not have an inherent pouch to carry our young after birth, like the kangaroo. Yet, we are all mammals – warm blooded, living creatures. As human beings, we share the ability to discern physical abilities and capabilities from physical expectations. We do not expect a kangaroo to swim the ocean as if it were a dolphin. Neither do we expect an elephant to hop across our front yard in the way we would expect that of a rabbit. We expect and accept the physical limitations that are unique to each mammalian species.

To the right, we have a picture, a graphic, a depiction of human performance utilizing colors and words. The essence of human performance is a balance of one’s desire to do their own personal work, acquire and use adequate skills to achieve one’s own goals and purpose, and to have the ‘right’ behavior and attitude. These elements involve willpower, discipline, appropriate training and a willingness to work, be uncomfortable, and grow (i.e. possess ability to learn and do something that is different than what the individual deems normative). Because these elements are missing from the picture on the left, these qualities, abilities, and capabilities are routinely ignored in human to human interactions. Most importantly, they are absent from the process of creating, developing, implementing, and evaluating expectations.

Why, then, do we as human beings routinely dismiss the influence of environment and exposure on the human condition? Why do we expect people with varied levels of human performance to PERFORM in a way that meets our RANDOMLY DEFINED expectations? Do you have an answer? If not, I challenge you to TAILOR your expectations to the level of human performance that you witness with each individual. By tailoring our expectations with tangible data stemming from a person-by-person experience, we engineer a new pathway to maximize utility of the strengths for each individual while refraining from adding new emotional wounds to the repository that each person has collected, maintained, and grew through environment and exposure. What we all define as normal stems from our environment, and exposure, which shapes our life experiences.

Challenge your norms. Choose to live life differently. Contribute to the emotional and mental health of the public you serve.

Written by Dr. Mandy J. Hill

Owner and Founder of The Public Health Consulting Group, LLC