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Hearing What We Don’t Want To Hear Is Critical

by David Brock on July 9th, 2018

It seems, as human beings, we are increasingly less open to hearing differing points of view.  We immediately reject those that have a different opinion or world view, not taking the time to understand it, learn/evaluate, perhaps challenge it, or perhaps even shifting our own opinions as we learn more.

We seek those that share our points of view, continually reinforcing what we want to hear, exposing ourselves less and less to other thinking.  We isolate ourselves to tribal thinking, discounting anything that is outside of the tribal view.

Technology is here to help us, it watches our browsing habits, our contacts, our engagement on various platforms.  In trying to be helpful, we start seeing our feeds and other information we are presented is aligned with those habits and conversations.

Pretty soon, all we see are very narrow perspectives, all reinforcing everything we have looked at or have done in the past.

Confirmation bias kicks in, accelerating and amplifying this cycle.  We tend to believe in things that confirm our own beliefs and views.

This cycle continues daily, cycling faster and faster, narrowing our perspectives.

Soon, it looks like the “world” is composed of people, activities, data, that reinforces everything that we have seen, read, or believe.  We begin to believe everyone has similar perspectives.

This is hugely dangerous and limiting.

Increasingly, we navigate with increasingly obtrusive “blinders.”  Reality becomes hugely distorted–eventually bearing no resemblance to the circumstances that really exist, but just a very narrow interpretation.

This impacts everything we do, in our communities, with our friends, in our businesses, and with our customers.

From a business point of view, whether it’s our overall business strategy, how we approach markets/customers, or how we work a “deal/opportunity,” it leaves us hugely exposed.  We tend to see what we “want” to believe, not what might really be happening.

We are blinded to what’s really happening with our customers–missing opportunities to better serve them.

We are blinded to what’s happening in the markets and our competitors, particularly non traditional competition, putting our business at risk.

We are limited in our abilities to be creative and innovate.

While this narrowing of our perspectives seems to simplify things, it is terribly dangerous.

It turns out we can’t overcome this passively.  We have to actively fight it.  We have to actively look outside our tribes.  We have to turn off some of the technology filters that keep providing us information we want to hear/see, not what we need to hear/see.  We have to actively seek different points of view, differing perspectives–even those we don’t want to hear or see.

We have to look for insight, answers, perspectives in radically new places.

Sometimes the most important thing we can do to increase our success is look for and hear things we don’t want to hear.


One Comment
  1. David G Olson permalink

    This is a real and large issue. Your points are spot on !!

    We must be willing to experience the discomfort of considering that we might even be wrong about some of our long held beliefs and opinions.

    I like to suggest radically old places to seek “insights, answers and perspectives,” like books, newspapers, magazines (actual paper versions) and talking with people that have different life experiences.


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