Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coming From a Different Place

I went to a presentation this evening, where I knew that the person giving the talk would have a very different perspective from my own.  He would be coming from a different place, both literally and figuratively. I was right.

Even so, I listened with an open mind, and looked for areas of agreement- of which there were many. I looked for things I could learn form what he was saying, even if it didn't exactly fit my situation.

The thing is, it's always that way.
No one else's situation will ever be exactly the same as mine, yet all situations will have something in common. It could be more, or less, but it will always be something.

It seems to happen to me a lot, that someone else's perspective is different from my own. The part I'm trying to understand better is what it means for someone to have a different perspective, different beliefs, different assumptions. How does that affect our ability to communicate with each other? What do they see that I do not, and vice versa? How can I move toward being more aware of their viewpoints? How can I reach them with mine?

In order to connect with another person, to really communicate with them, you have to meet them where they are. If they can't understand you, they aren't going to get much from whatever you say.

I run into this all the time when the subject of education comes up. So much so that I tend not to discuss it with people unless there is a compelling reason to do so.

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