COULD IT BE I SEE A FACE AND DISMISS THE VASE?
This morning I read a post written by David Kanigan called “Making Same Mistakes. Certainly.” This post caught my eye right away. It caught my eye for several reasons. One being that I sometimes write about learning from mistakes, yet I definitely have been guilty of making the same mistakes over and over again. If I know that it is in my best interest to learn from my mistakes, then what holds me back from learning from all of them?
As I was reading David’s post, I was reminded of the answer. Many times, not always, but many times, I have repeatedly made the same mistakes due to a lack of insight or a lack of awareness that comes from a refusal to open my mind to a different paradigm. Sure, people may have told me that there was another way or a better way, but I KNEW my way was right. No reason to explore what they were trying to tell me because I knew that they were wrong and I was right. End of the story. End of the conversation. So I thought…
David discusses Eric Barker’s post written about a book titled Power by Stanford business professor, Jeffrey Pfeffer. The book challenges some of David’s originally held beliefs about success in the workplace. David writes, ”I’ve read the book and thought NO, NO, NO. I found the research findings to be discouraging and against the grain of everything I believed in. They can’t be right.”
David goes on to say, ”Pfeffer is right. Yes, he is. My most important lesson. Right here. My area of repeated mistakes right here.”
The purpose of my post is not for me to decide whether David’s original view (performance is key to workplace success) or Pfeffer’s research (likability is key to workplace success) is correct. (Little secret- I think they are not mutually exclusive.) The purpose of this post is to stress the importance of educating ourselves to different points of view.
Too often we close our minds to anything and everything that does not perfectly align with our own world view. What we do not realize is that by doing this, we are more likely to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. We can’t change what we refuse to acknowledge or even explore.
I see this quite often, not just with myself, but with friends, family members, and clients. It is often the cause of conflict between co-workers, supervisors, and partners in intimate relationships. If the feedback one hears threatens long-held beliefs, the person is very likely to discount the feedback altogether or become angry that it was even brought to their attention. Many times the feedback of another person is not even considered or evaluated for validity. It is often kill the messenger, rather than examine the self.
This reminds me of an optical illusion. You look at the picture and see an ugly witch. Someone else looks at the picture and sees a beautiful woman. You argue your point for hours without examining the other’s view. You are so convinced of what you see that you quit your job or end a relationship. Sounds pretty silly, huh? Believe it or not, this happens all the time- but it may not be about an ugly witch.
By taking the time to evaluate a different point of view, you may learn something new. Your mind may be stretched. Your awareness may be enlarged. You may stop making mistakes that hold you back- mistakes that you did not even know you were making.
“But what if I look at things from multiple angles and still decide that my original angle works best for me?” – You might ask.
I would say back to you, “If you have educated yourself on multiple views and have come to the conclusion that your original angle works best for you- then you have stretched your mind. By having the courage to explore a different perspective, you HAVE expanded your view regardless of your conclusion.”
One True Story With a Made Up Name
John’s dad taught his son to be tough. Growing up, John heard, “Son, don’t you ever let anyone take advantage of you. You get them before they get you.” John heard this over and over again. Now John is grown and cannot seem to hold down a job. It seems that he has a difficult time getting along with people. John’s father’s words are etched in his mind. “Get them before they get you!” John’s supervisors have tried to give John helpful feedback, but John is not open to their perspective. He continues to make the same mistake. “Get them before they get you!”
Wake up, John. It is not working for you!
David, Thank you for inspiring this post with your, “NO NO NO.” P.S. Doing a good job is never a bad idea.
If you are not familiar with David’s blog, you can find it @ www.davidkanigan.com. David is a very talented writer. His posts are often funny, touching, and informative. I encourage you to check it out.
- Making Same Mistakes. Certainly. (davidkanigan.com)
- What are the 4 best methods for increasing your power in the workplace? (bakadesuyo.com)
- The World According to Fred (letlifeinpractices.com)
- What five things can make sure you never stop growing and learning? (bakadesuyo.com)
- 35 Simple Ways to Be Beautiful (tinybuddha.com)