We all see and experience the world in a different way and this may lead to conflicts. It’s difficult to really see the world through someone’s eyes, and it might even be more difficult to see how you yourself are looking at the world. Here are three ways of how you can see more about your own perception of the world.
Read a book and watch the movieI remember how disappointed I was when I checked the movie ‘The unbearable lightness of being’, a book from the hands of Milan Kundera. I had read the book first and then found out there was a movie based upon that book. Eager to relive the story again, I got the movie and started watching. It didn’t last long, I couldn’t watch the movie as it was a completely different story in comparison with the book. I found out that Milan Kundera had the same problems with it: “In 1988, an American-made film adaptation of the novel was released starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Lena Olin and Juliette Binoche. In a note to the Czech edition of the book, Kundera remarks that the movie had very little to do with the spirit either of the novel or the characters in it. In the same note Kundera goes on to say that after this experience he no longer allows any adaptations of his work.” (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unbearable_Lightness_of_Being) It tells a lot about how difficult it is to see the world through the eyes of the other. Seeing and hearing the perspective of another is already being compared with our perspective. If it doesn’t match or isn’t compatible with our view, we give up. I challenge you to read a book and then see the movie based upon that specific book. It will be an eye-opener to learn how difficult and strange it can be to really experience the perspective of someone else. When reading a book, you use your own personal library of images, emotions and experiences to translate the words into something that makes sense in your brain. When watching the movie, the images are not coming from your personal library any more, but from the director’s. He or she is the one showing how he sees it, using settings and creating scenes that represent his or her interpretation. When doing so, you will notice how difficult it can be when those images are different with the ones that you had when you read the book. Even though you recognize the scenes, they might feel completely different. A step further is the process of letting go your images, to stop comparing and taking up the images of the director just as they are. The moment you are ‘judging’ or ‘having thoughts about how the book is different’, you are still using your own eyes to watch the movie.
Go to a lecture, ask a question
When you go to an event, such as a lecture, try to be prepared in the sense that you would like to get the speaker’s perspective in your knowledge base. You should be able to go home and ask yourself: ‘How would ……….. (fill in speaker here) deal with this or that situation/problem? How do you ‘steal’ the perspective of the speaker in the most efficient way? Let me give you a hint: it’s not by asking a question where you don’t know the answer yourself.
Most people however, do ask a question to a speaker, because they don’t know the answer or the solution themselves. They want the answer right there, and this is exactly what they get: an answer on a question, but that’s not enough to take the perspective of the speaker home and add it as a tool in your mental toolbox.
Ask a question about something you have a clear perspective on. Then listen carefully to what that person has to say about the matter. It’s not about knowing it better, but about understanding how the speaker comes up with a solution that matches his own perspective on that specific topic. Your knowledge of the topic, will allow you to see the world through the eyes of the speaker.
This is why it’s good to connect with people who are interested in the same subjects, even same businesses and to share how they solve certain problems. And because we are all wired differently, have a different setting or stage where our business is active in, copying a solution will never be 100% accurately. Instead of fearing competitors stealing your work methods, fear of missing out on experiences and perspectives of colleagues is a bigger issue. Note that this is not the same as exchanging ideas which haven’t been realised yet. It’s OK not to share these, as that are things you might want to try and experience first.