FreakoutITGeek's Blog

Random IT postings from Freakz

Think Different

Many people know the phrase ‘think different’ from Apple’s successful advertising campaign. It’s still something that I associate Apple with today, from their continuous strive to push technology and design forward to things as simple as their Apple Stores.

Apple does what *it* thinks are the best things to do, not what the industry, press or public think and that makes it what it is today.

Now I’ve already gone off on a tangent.

This post is really about something that I’ve felt for a long time. It probably started at the latter stages of primary school, into high school and is a part of my life every day, however I never realised it’s impact until I did my Open University degree.

To me, thinking different is something everyone does whether they realise it or not. Whilst, as a teenager, I decided not to be a sheep and follow what everyone else did and instead decided to do the things I was interested in ( sometimes for the better, or worse) it wasn’t until two of the courses on systems thinking touched on the concept of ‘world view’ that I started seeing the power of not just empathy but in trying to see things from other people’s vantage point.

Now this may sound a bit basic, but consider how a child sees the world, with their basic understanding of their environment learnt from exploration, trial and error, with their environment as their teacher ( and yes that environment includes other people such as friends, family, neighbours, teachers etc.. all with differing views, values, skills, knowledge & dare I say it their hangups, issues and problems). To a child everything is new, an exciting, never ending, constantly changing world of learning. Their view is unlimited but it has some constraints in the form of what they can see (their access to or view of [due to height, locks or physical barriers]), hear and gain access to (sometimes for their own protection).

Now consider an adult in the same situation, they have gone through the education system and been taught the rules of life, what to do, what to say, how to act, warned of the dangers and learnt to be cautious. Their view is restricted by that teaching, their values, their Environment (work, money, education, religion, laws, rules, beliefs)

OK I think I’ve gone too far too fast. Lets bring this back. let’s consider a simple example.

Identical twins are looking at a scenic garden from a terrace. The garden is divided into sections by hedging. If one of those twins is standing on a box or something which makes the whole garden viewable, their view will be more enjoyable (assuming you like gardens) than their twin who can only see a small section, with their view restricted by the hedge(s).

So what I’m saying is that people are affected by their life experiences or ‘world view’ (There is a German word for this but I could never remember it from the courses ).

So everyone lives different lives, have different experiences, see things from different angles and no one can truly share or know what you know, you are unique. And so is everyone else.

I realised this in high school but life got in the way and I think I lost that insight until I studied those OU courses.

So once you know this info, what’s the use?

Well if you realise that your view on something is not the same as someone else, I hope that you would realise that in order to help people you have to realise that you need to try and understand their viewpoint first.

This involves finding out more about them, why they feel the way that they do, what lead them to this feeling and what they need from you in order to satisfy whatever need it is that have come to you to have satisfied.

This may sound a bit weird, but if you think about it everyone needs something from someone else. Whether it be help from a doctor, friend or work colleague. Goods from a shop. A service from a company. Or the other way round a customer, friend, colleague, family member that is looking for something from you: help, a person to talk to, an item, time or something else.

So what I’m saying here is please don’t judge others, learn from them, engage with them, find out their ‘world view’ and your world may just turn out a tiny bit better.


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