People Are As Different As They Look
Posted by Todd Smith
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Picture yourself in some sort of group setting-perhaps around the board meeting conference table, your living room with fellow charity event committee members or in your office with your co-workers diligently meeting a project deadline. No doubt issues will arise and problems will need to get solved. My guess is the way you perceive a certain situation may be entirely different than someone else’s perception.
People are Different
The reality is that we are all different. We come from different backgrounds, religions and nationalities. We have different life experiences, education, political leanings, personality type and family upbringing. These differences shape our perceptions and because no two people have the same experiences, we end up viewing the world differently.
Here’s an analogy to help you understand the concept. Do two people ever see the same rainbow? Answer: no. As the eyes of two people cannot occupy the same place in space at the same time, each person sees a different rainbow. The raindrops are constantly in motion so its appearance is always changing. Each time you see a rainbow, it is unique in its own magnificent way.
Embrace Our Differences
Just like the rainbow, each person is unique. And although our experiences will color our opinions of people different than ourselves, we should embrace those differences. Why?
- It will open your mind to other ideas so you can learn and grow. Have you ever heard someone say, “No way can that work” or “You’re wrong to think that way?” Statements like these work as blinders and prevent you from learning. It’s so important to not dismiss an idea just because it originated from someone who had a different point of view. In reality the ability to think differently can spark creativity and innovation. There’s just no way you can improve yourself or grow your business if you only value your own ideas.
- You can disagree without offending. One person sees the world in one manner and you see it in another. Just because the other person’s view is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just different. So agree to respectfully disagree.
- It will cause you to be less critical of others. For most of us, criticism hurts. It’s judgmental and often stems from the fact that a person thinks that all things in life should be “their way” or no way at all. If you acknowledge and learn to appreciate people’s differences, you’ll provide constructive feedback as opposed to offensive criticism.
- You will become a more effective communicator. In the words of Tony Robbins, “To effectively communicate we must realize we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
Allowing for other people’s perspectives will enhance your listening skills, demonstrate your sincere interest in the other person and increase your comprehension. All of these skills are required to build long and meaningful relationships.
I’d like to think that after reading this lesson you would not only intellectually accept the idea that we are all different but also incorporate the premise into your daily interactions. Enrich your life by expanding your mind, valuing other people’s opinions and learning new ideas. Above all, appreciate the beauty of our differences.
Remember: (1) Perception is reality but everyone’s perception is different. (2) What may be logical to you may not be logical to others. (3) What may be important to you may not be important to others. (4) Don’t discount the opinions of others because they may be better than yours.
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