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Insights: Respective for Perspective
November 23, 2010
Respect for Perspective
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"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view."
- Harper Lee
One thing about the gift of total uniqueness that was bestowed upon us is that we all see things from different perspectives.
True for me, true for you?
And yet there are many on this earth who fail to respect that difference of perpective, thinking that the way they see things and the beliefs that they subscribe to are the only truth. Is it any wonder that there is so much conflict, animosity and distrust in the world?
Loyal readers of Insights will know that I often write about the importance of keeping an open and enquiring mind. I believe it is one of the keys to experiencing personal freedom and self-growth.
During the course of the week-end I read the most awe inspiring book. It was one of those books that simply jumped out at me during one of those rare occasions when I have the time to browse around a bookstore.
The book, which I was taken aback to find was written by a South African author, sets forth highly compelling evidence for the fact that there is a common star map theme encoded into the pyramid cultures of ancient Egypt, Central America, Cambodia - and Stonehenge. And - here's where you'll need an open mind - even on our sister planet, Mars!
X marks the spot
The star map, like any good treasure map, contains an X that marks the spot. In this case the X appears to be the centre of another solar system from which those who imparted the technology to build these incredible feats of engineering hailed.
The sense of sheer incredulity and excitement that I felt after finally putting this book down compelled me to email a note of thanks and congratulations to the author - and to ask about the timing of the sequel that he had referred to throughout the book.
I never for once expected that he would respond within five minutes! Sadly he explained that the sequel would be unlikely to be published in conventional book form due to 'massive interference' that his published work had attracted from 'unknown groups'.
Of course I knew what he meant. The book, though brilliantly researched, would no doubt have seriously ruffled the tailfeathers of people whose belief systems, for whatever reason, would be seriously offended by his theories.
Burnt at the stake
In more primitive eras people were burnt at the stake, persecuted or, at the very least, excommunicated for proposing ideas or theories that defied conventional thinking at the time.
Today we are less barbaric but still as vitriolic in our condemnation of out-of-the-box thinkers. One only has to think of the scientists who originally put forward the theory of man-made global warming, for example, and the torrid criticism they had to face from skeptics.
In the shoes of others
In training life coaches, one of the most important skills we impart is the ability to appreciate things from multiple perspectives. We don't, in any way, force our trainees to change their beliefs or perspectives (unless they want to). We simply provide them with techniques to effectively 'put themselves in the shoes of others'.
Each of us, through the environment we are exposed to, the education and experiences we have and the imagination we bring to bear, comes to develop a 'mental map' of the world we live in (what's good, what's bad, what's right, what's wrong, what we believe and what we don't).
Different mental maps
Because we are all unique and have different experiences, we all develop different - and sometimes dramatically different - 'mental maps' or constructs.
To be successful as a life coach one has to be able to relate to the different 'mental maps' of one's clients. Only by seeing things from the client's perspective can a life coach truly help that person to become the very best they can be.
Appreciating and understanding the 'mental maps' of others does not imply that you have to agree with them - it simply requires an open mind and an ability to respect different perspectives for what they are.
Key to a harmonious life
In my humble opinion, the ability to respect - and even encourage - different perspectives, is one of the keys to enjoying a harmonious and loving life.
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