What do you mean “everyone doesn’t see it like I do…is there even another way?!?”
One of the surest ways to get tripped up each day is to assume that everyone thinks like you do!
Look at the picture above…what do you see? Most people see 1 of 2 animals. Maybe you see them both; but which one did you see first? Such a simple illustration of people seeing things differently!
Let’s take this into a real life example…what happens when you ask your co-worker for flight details of your upcoming work trip? “Well, you need to be at the airport 3 hours early, just to make sure you don’t miss the flight”, she says.
“Three hours early?!? Are you kidding me? The airport isn’t that big and I’m not checking any bags. I’m not going to miss the flight. I’ll be fine,” you “calmly” respond.
This sparks a serious “debate” which quickly spirals into judgements about who is “responsible” and who is “paranoid”. Words, gestures, attitudes, and emotions are flying (pun intended ).
What in the world just happened you wonder. All you did was ask what time your flight was leaving.
Here’s what happened - you both got tripped up by a “Fault Line” - a faulty way of thinking - one that assumes “everyone thinks like I do”. Now if I were to ask you straight out, Does everyone think like you?, I have no doubt you would say NO.
Yet so often we get caught off guard when someone says or does something differently than we would. That is a Fault Line that we all need to be aware of. There are other Fault Lines that can also trip us up, but for now we will focus on this one. (I grew up in California - being on a Fault Line can be scary!)
So, how do we navigate this Fault Line?
Awareness - admit that this may be a Fault Line issue…you are now aware of the Fault Line - you’re welcome!
Believe the best - realize that there actually is more than one way to do or think about most things, and that even though we like to think our way is the best, it might not be.
Clarify - get curious and ask a few questions to clarify what may be going on. I’ll spend more time on asking good questions another time but here are a few simple things you can begin to do right away (we’ll use the airport illustration above):
Instead of reacting which can convey judgment and put the other person on edge, say something like, “I don’t usually leave that early for the airport when I travel; why are you suggesting I get there 3 hours early?”
Realize that your co-worker may get very stressed about flying or has had a bad experience in the past due to a missed flight, or a number of other possibilities.
Thank her for the suggestion and for being so conscientious to make sure you get where you need to be (and realize you have the freedom to actually get to the airport whenever you want to).
Check out this quote by Adam Grant:
What others say doesn’t directly affect your emotions.
Between their words and your feelings is your interpretation of their intention.
Agency lies in the space between stimulus and response.
A sign of emotional intelligence is recognizing your power to change your assumptions.
You have the power to change what you think about the person, the situation, etc. Your thoughts are the foundation of your emotions and they are NOT fixed. (Again, more on this another time)
Assuming your perspective is always right hinders your personal satisfaction and success in life because you are not free to be creative which comes from a growth mindset.
I want you to be free to be you! Play to your strengths! Be who you are, not who you’re not!
I would love to help you on your journey; that’s what “gets me up in the morning”. Each of us have been given unique talents ON purpose FOR a purpose. If you’d like to explore that more, please don’t hesitate to contact me at www.alisonbuchanan.com
Oh, and what DID you see in the animal illustration above?
I’d love to know!