Perspective is a starting point for any conflict resolution or a deadlock situation. Getting in to the shoes of the other person and trying to understand others perspective is important. For me perspective and empathy could be used interchangeably. But this is not what i am going to talk about in this post. I am going to talk about inward perspective, how we risk our development and take decisions even without knowing that we are faced with a problem of limited perspective. This happens mainly because ave fallen in to a trap of comfort zone, doing things in a certain way. Its a case where we have unknowing stereotyped one-selves and we work in a AUTO mode without thinking. I would call it human robot which has a huge blind side.
Below I bring together some pointers which would be a interesting read exploring my concern.
In the ‘Sully’ movie true story, we see Captain Chesley (known as Sully) making an emergency landing on the Hudson River, after his plane is hit by birds, causing both engines to fail. In his long flying career, Sully had never experienced an engine failure, nor had he ever tried to land on water. But from his perspective, the river was long enough, wide enough and smooth enough to serve as a landing spot. For many pilots, flying can become a routine with a series of scripted steps, but Sully saw each flight as a learning experience. By forcing himself to continuously learn, Sully was able to find the tendency to succumb to routine and kept his mindset open to the new perspectives, including that of landing on the water – which ultimately saved the life of everyone on the plane.
The curse of expertise
In the context of work, expertise can narrow your thinking. You might start to believe your usual methods are the best, or the only way to get things done — which means you miss out on new ideas, fail to anticipate trends, and narrow your perspective. Unfamiliar or unpleasant arguments, opposing views, information that disapproves rather than affirms our beliefs, cause us to think more deeply and come to more creative and complex conclusions.
The threat is even bigger at the top, where managers think they know it all and they are smarter and better; after all that’s why they got at the top. They close off from others’ ideas and perspectives, limiting exposure to novelty much needed for learning. To avoid this trap you need to commit to constant learning and growth, revisit your assumptions, check in your ego, engage with different voices.
Counterfactual thinking involves creating possible alternatives to life events, contrary to what actually happened. Most of us could recall certain moments in our lives that stand out as turning points that lead us to reflect on how life might have been different, for better or for worse, if they hadn’ occurred. Part of the reason we fall out of love with work and life is the common tendency to neglect information that contradicts our views or preferences and to instead focus on data that confirm them. Imagine that you have changed careers and aren’t very happy at your new job. As a result, you feel regretful and think you made a mistake, even to the point of disregarding positive signs that things will get better. Counterfactual thinking should help you broaden your perspective: what if staying in my old career ended up becoming a boring routine? When we consider how things might have unfolded differently, we become more sensitive to the unpredictability of life. As a result, we consider decisions more systematically and approach life with a more open mind.
Perspective taking is a key component of emotional intelligence allowing you to interact more effectively with others in general. When we’re more sensitive to other people and keen to help, we are more likely to make the effort to take their perspective, which in turn improves empathy, communication and connection. Perspective taking has been found to also decrease prejudice and stereotyping.
The natural question is then how to broaden our perspective? In many ways and experiences and it does not have to be travelling around the world. It can be found in smaller things, such as reading different articles and books, accepting other viewpoints, immersing more with people with different opinions. Constantly seek for new experiences, come out of your comfort zone and push yourself to new levels of creativity and performance. The whole idea is to try out things that give greater awareness and novelty.
Sources: Rebel Talent by Francisca Gino; hbr.org