It's All in Your Perspective...

Two people looking at the same thing never see the same thing.

Because it's Spring and I'm a Cubs fan, I’m going to use a baseball analogy. If we’re watching the same baseball game, we both understand the “rules” of the baseball game. There is a diamond, containing a pitcher’s mound, a home base, and 3 bases. There is an infield and an outfield. If there are four “balls” thrown to the batter, then the batter walks. If there are three “strikes,” then the batter is out. Three outs and the half-inning is over. The most runs scored wins.

Still, we see a different game. Maybe we’re cheering for different teams. Maybe we have different favorite players. Maybe you see a strike, and I see a ball. (Of course, all that really matters is what the umpire sees...)

We also bring different visceral meaning to the game. If we’re at the game, there are smells and sounds that are different from watching the game at home or in a bar. Maybe you have memories of sneaking into games with your friends as a child. Maybe attending baseball games was a special event that I shared with my brother. Maybe you played baseball in college and attending games remind you of your glory days. All of these different scenarios make “how” we see the game different and unique for each one of us.

Imagine all of the perspectives, then, that each of us brings to a simple event in everyday life. While we attend the event with other people, we all see different things happening. While there may be aspects of the event we agree upon at a face level, we may not agree at the deeper level, and we may never even discuss the issue further. 

This is where misunderstandings originate. 

  • When we think we agree on events, or directions at work, or rules of conduct, or ethics, but we never discuss the deeper meaning, we open ourselves up to potential misunderstandings.

  • When we assume that everyone else is “just like us” and sees the same thing, we are overlooking not only our own uniqueness but also potential new ways to solve problems. We are, in fact, not behaving inclusively.

The next time you are having trouble understanding another person, simply ask, “How did you see that?” It’s a great way to open up a conversation and understand what each other is really seeing.



© 2017, Susan McCuistion

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