I recently purchased a new pair of sunglasses. My previous pair had survived a long time before Mackenzie tore them off my face while riding on my shoulders, and dropped them on the ground just as Riley came running by. Goodbye sunnies. Ouch.
Today my new pair arrived and I went walking outside in the sun to try them out. The lenses are a different colour to those of my previous pair….and the result is that everything looks different. Colours are different, shadows are different, sunlight is filtered differently. I have to say, everything looked really weird.
I realised that over the past seven years I had gotten so used to my old sunnies, that the view through them seemed “normal”. When I looked through a different lense, everything somehow changed.
I’m guessing if you’re a regular reader of these mildly bizarre musings, you can see where I’m headed here!
I got to thinking about the other lenses I look through…..and how I’m so used to my lenses that everything seems normal. What if I were to view the world through a different set of lenses?
I’m an Australian, caucasian, middle-class, gen-x male. Happily married, happy and positive family background, three great kids of my own, born and bred queenslander, been part of the christian church my whole life, addicted to motor racing. Those are a pretty serious set of lenses that colour my view of the world in uncountable ways. Change just one of them, and somehow everything is different.
So how do we begin to understand what the world looks like from a different perspective….or through a different lense? I have to say I’m not quite sure….but I know that it starts with being aware that my ‘normal’ might not be the same as yours….and that as we communicate, we need to factor in the possibility probability certainty that we’re seeing things in different shades.
All of which reminds me of a very valuable piece of advice that Stephen Covey offered us all in his classic self-help work “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People“. Covey’s fifth habit was:
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
In my language, let me see through the lenses you wear, and understand how the world appears to you, long before I try to tell you how things look from behind my lenses.