I don’t usually comment on a lot of things on LinkedIn, but I noticed a post from Jamie Cope, questioning the value of a forthcoming Royal wedding. I do not wish this piece to be about the merits of another Royal something. I, personally have strong social and political views on how as a society we should try to address the current ‘imbalances’ no matter where they are found. However, I was more struck by some of the replies.
So many people were quick to condemn the sentiment. How could a happy occasion be denounced? Amongst the replies which ranged from killjoy to traitor, I thought something was being missed.
How quick are we to not listen to what people are saying, but instead jump to the conclusion of what we believe is being said (or written in this case)?
We fill in the blanks and construct the sentence with no problem at all – because it makes sense to us, in accordance with our existing world and our past interpretation of experience.
Jamie was not considering whether royal weddings make us happy. She was asking about the validity of a level of excitement and meaningfulness in a world which is proving unpredictable, complex and discernibly and increasingly polarised.
Many, not all, replied in accordance with what they thought her intention was, not her question.
You see, we all live by a belief system. The world is not how it is. It’s how we are. It reflects back. It treats us like we treat it. I often say in my talks, that the hardest thing I do, in business or sport, is try to convince people that the world that they are inhabiting is merely a reflection of their attitude towards it.
We all like to read sentences and delete, distort and filter according to our own belief system. We take in all information that way; market analysis, insight, news about restructure, re-organisations, competition, new regulation, we see it in a way which supports what we believe is right….even when we’re wrong.
Before we attack people for their views or even support them, let us take time to consider the wider and bigger debate. Let’s consider that there may be another perspective. Let’s be thoughtful about how we think. The world’s problems or indeed our own, cannot be fixed with the same lens that created them. We must be open-minded to the idea that we can see the same evidence differently.
The world at the moment is rewarding divergent thinkers more so than convergent thinkers.
A quick question…do you think there are people in your team or family who could perform better?
If you said yes, then consider it might not be from learning new skills, going back to college, or gaining a new language. I bet they could be better by simply seeing themselves differently, or seeing colleagues or customers differently. A new perspective doesn’t give people new skills. However, it does allow people to use the skills they currently have in a different way to which they are using them…but that to me is improvement!
The challenge for all of us is not to give a quick answer, or even the right answer, but maybe to ask the right questions, especially of ourselves.
Someone much smarter than me (and that could be a whole host of people) once said about books, ‘books are like a mirror, if a fool looks in, a fool looks out’. None of us are fools or indeed wish to be. The point is we need to see things clearly and objectively before we can find the most appropriate response.
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