There are so many things to be divided about lately. From political ideology, to social justice issues, to how to handle a pandemic, we are at no lack of things to be divided by. Yet, while it’s easy to become hardened in our thinking, based on our own beliefs and experience, I think all this division also provides an excellent opportunity to understand how others view these things. If we’re willing to listen to them and think about what they say.
It’s easy to reject someone who’s thoughts are different from ours, without even considering how their experiences might have shaped the way they see things. I’m not saying you have to embrace thinking that is totally untethered from reality. (That’s a discussion for someone else’s blog.) However, if we can actually listen to another person, without feeling we have to defend our position, we gain great insight into WHY they think the way they do. We still may not agree with their thinking, but at least we have a greater understanding of how they came to think what they do. Who knows, what we learn through listening to them might even cause our own thinking to be changed.
A lot of folks broadcast their opinion, solicited or not, under the guise that, “I just want to get other people to think.” That’s nice, but the question that always comes to mind when I hear that statement (or find myself saying it) is, “That’s great, but are you willing to think as well?”
We need to take a look at ourselves in the figurative mirror. If we’re not willing to consider a different perspective, or to see an issue from someone else’s point of view, then we should stop expecting others to consider our perspective and point of view. How can we tell others that they need to think about what we have to say, when we ourselves are unwilling to extend that same courtesy to them?
I’m sure you’re familiar with this routine. As you’re getting ready in the morning you look at yourself in the mirror and compare that image with the image you have in your mind of what you should look like before your start your day. You see disheveled hair, so you fix it. You see toothpaste on your face, so you wipe it off. You take one last look on your way out the door to make sure the image of how you’d like to look and how you actually look align. The mirror does an excellent job of telling us when our appearance is falling short what we expect for ourselves. It’s great feedback!
While it’s important to have mirrors to ensure we look presentable before we leave the house, I think it’s even more important to have mirrors that reflect back to us how well we’re living up to the standard we’ve set for ourselves.
As a Christian, I’ve decided that the standard I’ve chosen to live by are the teachings of Jesus, as found in the Bible. So, in order to know whether my life is a reflection of what Jesus teaches, I need compare how I’m living my life to Jesus’s teaching in the Bible and see if my reflection matches. If my life aligns with Jesus’s teaching, then I’m on track. If not, I’ve got work to do. Either way, the mirror of the Bible when compared to my life gives me feedback and informs me where I can make changes.
So what standard are you trying to live your life in accordance with? What mirror do you need to check your reflection against? Whatever it is, just be sure to check your reflection regularly, receive the feedback it’s giving you, and make corrections as needed.
Done over a long period of time, this habit will move your life in the direction you want it to go.
I saw a job posting for a similar position to what I currently hold. No, I’m not looking for a change! I love what I do and where I do it, so I’m staying put. However, the required skills section of the posting did capture my attention.
As I looked at the requirements, I noticed there were a couple of topics that I would benefit from learning more about. In addition, I got a glimpse into what skills other organizations deem valuable in my chosen career field. It also caused me to add a couple more items to add to my “skills to learn” list.
I think it’s good to sharpen our knowledge of the techniques and technologies in our chosen careers…
so that our skills don’t become stale or dated …
so that we can skillfully apply our skills to the work that we do…
so that we can help our organizations fulfill their missions.
Staying sharp in our careers isn’t just good for us, it’s also good for those we serve. Plus, it’s more rewarding when we’ve got an intellectual toolbox full of well-sharpened skills that we can draw from in order to solve the problems we encounter.
Here’s something we all know, but that I often forget… we don’t all have the same background and experiences shaping how we view ourselves and the world.
I can too easily assume that others have similar backgrounds and experiences as me. That assumption is an easy connection to another equally false assumption; that what I would do or how I would think in a situation is how others should think. That’s simply not true.
Our experiences and backgrounds shape how we interpret what we see in the world, so it’s obvious that those with differing experiences would see things different that I would, and vice versa.
I like to frequently remind myself about this so that I don’t look up one day and realize that I’ve turned into a cranky old man, simply because I assume that the problem with everyone is that they don’t see the world the same way I do.