Last week, I talked about personal growth and explained why it is the foundation of your success. Everything you want to achieve begins with your personal growth. I also talked about how your beliefs can hold you back because what you believe is the limits of what you can achieve. This week, I’m going to talk about personal growth and its role in busting through your beliefs by broadening your perspective.
Beliefs Are a Matter of Perspective
There’s a folk tale about 12 blind gurus who were placed into a room with an elephant. Each of them was invited to touch the elephant and try to figure out what it was. Each felt something different. The one who felt its tail declared it a whip. The one who felt its leg declared it a pillar. The one who felt its ear declared it a fan. The one who felt its trunk declared it a hose.
As part of my training in art, I learned something extremely valuable that carries over into all aspects of life: To draw what you see in front of you, you must draw only what you can see.
Why Perspective Matters
Your left side of your brain, the logical/analytical side, will try to tell you “Oh, drawing a chair is easy. It has four legs, a square seat, and a back. Boom. Done.” And if you try to draw all of those things, it will come out looking absolutely nothing like what you see in front of you.
Your eyes see a limited amount of that chair from where you are sitting or standing. To get the full picture of the chair, you must draw it from every point of view possible. And that is why our beliefs are a matter of perspective.
Beliefs Do Not Change the Truth
Your beliefs are not the truth. Your beliefs do not change the truth. Your beliefs are your interpretation of the truth based on how you felt about your experience of the truth and the limited amount of information you received at the time you encountered the truth.
The Importance of Broadening Your Perspective
In order to get to the real truth of any matter, you must examine as many different perspectives as possible so that you can put it all together and figure out what the truth of the matter really is. The broader your perspective, the closer you will come to the truth.
There will always be more of the truth to know. You will never be done learning. You will never have all the pieces, but it is important to gain as many of the pieces as possible so you can put as much of the puzzle together as you can.
Experience, Interpretation, Perspective
When you experience an event – such as being hurt or meeting someone new – the brain takes that event, all of the sensory input received from the rest of the body during the event, the memories you have of similar events in the past, and it interprets that data to provide meaning for you. It interprets that data in terms of how important it deems this event to be in terms of your future survival, whether it is a pleasurable experience that might want to be repeated, or whether it is a painful experience that needs to be avoided going forward.
Those interpretations become the stories we tell ourselves about what that event means. Our perspective influences the interpretation. What we know of the truth at the time the event happens is part of what goes into our beliefs about what the event means for us.
Most people are walking around telling themselves the same stories about the events that happened to them that they did when they were five. They allow those stories to dictate their choices without having ever gone back and re-examined the story from their current perspective or with all of the new information they’ve acquired about the truth since that time.
Why Leaders Are Readers
Leaders read because they know they have a limited perspective on things. They know that the more books they read, the more perspectives they encounter, the more of the truth they begin to see. And for someone in a leadership role, you need to have a firm handle on the truth. If you don’t, you’re going to end up leading people in the wrong direction.
Leaders also know they need to know where they are going, where the landmines are from the people who have walked that path before them, and how to get where they want to go. The only way to do that is to read, read, and read some more.
Reading Broadens Your Perspective
It actually doesn’t matter whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction. Reading broadens your perspective either way. It presents new ideas, new ways of looking at things, and new ways of thinking about things. You will be challenged to imagine things you never dreamt were even possible. And you will be the better for it.
Interviewing Others Broadens Your Perspective
There is a way, other than reading, to broaden your perspective. Interview someone else. Listen to their story. Try to understand it. Walk with them through their experiences. See what you find in that story.
Your Assignment: Interview Someone Else
I want to challenge you to work on broadening your perspectives starting today. Ask someone you know if you can interview them. Find out their story. You might just find you get an idea for a story of your own.
Consider Joining the Transformational Author Program
If you care about helping others, believe in the power of words to transform lives, and you are devoted to using your creativity to bring good things in the world, I am re-opening my Transformational Author Program to new students. Classes begin October 20th, and sign ups are available now.