As our world continues to grow in complexity, uncertainty, and intensity we are often challenged with the reality that it is hard to keep pace with the changes and still make a positive impact.
One of the more efficient tools we employ to manage the complexity around us is by putting up a few filters on the things we see, read, and experience. A current and practical example of using filters on how we deal with complexity is how we all navigate the internet. Our smart phones, tablets, and computers are all preset to our favorite websites, we follow the people we like or agree with on social media, and we watch videos based on our own preferences.
Filtering certainly makes us more efficient. With a world that is continually evolving, we risk taking a step back in our growth when we use too many convenient filters. Over time, filters may become blinders as we are most often exposed to ideas and points of view that we already understand and agree with and we remove the real challenge of trying to fully understand another perspective.
Systematically and continually restricting ourselves with filters is certainly not a path to sustainable personal growth nor is it a path to understanding differences.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, expanding our perspective to see beyond our narrow filters will better equip all of us to make a positive impact in an ever-changing world around us.
Beyond the filters on our electronic devices, most likely, we hang out with people like us, we remain in our part of town, we consume points of view from the same sources on television, and we often miss the start of change around us because of our filters.
Complete unfiltered activity is not a healthy path either, so here are a few considerations to enhance our growth and expand our ability to understand:
- Make an effort to listen to another generation. Listen with a genuine intent to understand, not change a person’s thinking. Generational experience is foundational to our personal point of view. Just take a quick review of someone who was a teenager and young adult in the 60s versus the 80s versus the 2000s to see some drastically different perspectives.
- Occasionally gather information on current events from a different website or channel on television. This step does not mean we have to agree, it just means we are putting forth our own personal effort to understand. In a world that has become so polarized and filtered to the extremes, we risk expanding the wedge of difference rather than strengthening our efforts around things we hold in common.
- Visit a different place beyond our routine. Whether it is a different coffee shop, restaurant, place of worship, part of town, or a different shopping mall. The experience will help us expand our perspective and understanding of our world that is not “just like us.”
- During this holiday season, many of us will be visiting with family. As we enjoy the interactions, the food, and some good sporting events, intentionally reach out and listen to a family member that we may have previously “tuned out” because of a past difference. Our families will grow stronger with more understanding rather than more judgment.
We take a step towards personal growth when we intentionally remove a few filters in our life. As we continue to grow our understanding instead of judgment, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to have a positive impact on those around us.