When processing the incoming information about the world around us, it seems that we each experience the world through our own perceptions and beliefs. I do wonder however, how much of what we believe and perceive is based on a weaving of ideas copied or borrowed from those around us; our parents, teachers, peers, clergy, politicians, media etc.
It seems clear that we make meaning depending on present circumstances and previous experiences, learnings and perceptions, but after a while, out of habit or for convenience, we take short cuts. We make assumptions and generalizations, seeing only what we are looking for and missing a bigger picture.
We may find ourselves spending time with people who support our way of seeing and consuming media which supports our view as well. We unconsciously and sometimes even consciously, look for and collect evidence to “prove” and support our particular “truth”.
After some time of living like this, we “forget” that what we are experiencing is just a viewpoint and we convince ourselves that what we understand about the world is “reality”.
Without awareness of our individual perspectives and assumptions, we show up in the world with tunnel vison, unable to acknowledge, understand or consider other ways of seeing.
Cultivating self-awareness (examining assumptions, perspectives, attitudes and beliefs and how these affect behaviour) is an extremely useful activity for lasting personal and professional development. Unpacking my own way of seeing things has been very liberating. The more I ask, “Is there another way of looking at this?” the more free I feel.
I believe that when we begin to think outside our own box and see outside our own tunnel vison, we can reinvigorate ourselves and in turn our experience of the world around us. I also believe that the possibilities for connection, collaboration, cooperation and innovation grow, when we truly understand that there are many ways to see the world and many, many ways to be in the world.
If we truly want to be an innovative nation, we may need to let go of entrenched views of “truth” which hold us back from learning, growing, experiencing and contributing to life in a richer, more multifaceted and satisfying way.
To be innovative I believe that we need to be able to see the world from multiple perspectives; not just from a limited worldview where “success” is measured principally by profit, capital gain and economic growth.