Perspective, Judgment, Curiosity and the Big Picture
As we move through our days, we take for granted that many things are as we see them, believing our own perceptions. And often, they are not as they seem. In life, as in business, being wrong can have devastating impact affecting our futures.
I took the photo above from our home in the early morning this last week, catching the scene as the sun rose and exposed the mist rising from the earth across the canal.
The sun appeared as though it was perhaps a mere 500 yards from us. In fact, as we all know, it was millions of miles away (93 million miles on average).
What we see is not always the reality. Our perspective is skewed by our interpretation of what we see, and what we know about what we are seeing.
If Yajnavalkya of India, in 9th century BCE, or Aristarchus of Samos, Greece, 2nd century BCE, or Copernicus of Poland (studied in Italy), in the 1500’s CE, had not proposed a sun-centered universe, then used new tools to examine their thesis, we might all still believe the earth was the centre of the universe and, perhaps, that the earth was flat.
In all three cases, these men were curious enough to ask a question about the reality of what they observed and what was believed to be true at the time. Then, having raised the question, used mathematics to determine that the sun did not circle the earth, but quite the opposite, the earth circled the sun.
In our world, in our lives and interactions with others, and in particular, in our businesses, we need to remain curious, refrain from judgment, and use the tools we have to determine whether our observations are true to life, or a figment of our imagination.
Staying open to new ideas, viewing ideas, people, and processes from as many different perspectives as we can, is what will keep us growing and developing as humans: asking questions of people to find out whether our initial, instinctive judgment of them is true or a fabrication of our mind based on our past experience or ‘information’ we have read or heard.
Curiosity about perspective also allows those of us in business to effectively determine what is and is not true in our businesses: what is truly working and what is not; what the potential future holds for our business, or what the marketplace will do in the next two, five, or ten years.
Curiosity allows us all to take a step back and get the big picture, the reality rather than what seems to be true. It gives us the ability to improve our communications with others in our personal and business lives, to improve customer relations and employee relations by asking the right questions. Curiosity gives us the ability to make better decisions, set more realistic priorities, and use the right metrics to guide our growing businesses.
If we, as business people and human beings rely only on our own perspective without questioning our judgments, seeking additional information from others, we will, in the end, have poorer outcomes in our lives and work.
It pays to pay attention to the principles of perspective, to question our initial judgments, and to remain forever curious.