Saturday, August 28, 2010

Aha on perspective

I was pondering on a talk I will give at the lab about communicating effectively to the potential buyer of your resume. Part of my presentation was specifically devoted to perspective. Instead of thinking about YOU, you need to be thinking about them. What will they want, need, look for and how will you sell yourself in that light. If you can't you are clearly not passionate at this level.

Upon thinking more about perspective it dawned on me. Perspective is defined as a comparison of views. You have yours and they have theirs. To have perspective, you analyze the other side. Not just once mind you, but an ensemble of viewpoints. This makes your analysis more robust because you can rationalize more about what they want and don't want. That is part of the exercise on perspective.

It would appear in our current polarized society, people pretend to have perspective ... having considered someone else's viewpoint. But the prevailing character has been either a biased viewpoint (one interpretation only) or fundamentally flawed viewpoint from which they can disregard that viewpoint.

Putting it another way, you believe X to be true. Someone else believes Y to be true. The person who thinks X, casts Y in a bad light, discounts the value of that viewpoint and then dismisses it. The whole point of perspective is to acknowledge that point of view and incorporate it. Sure if it is flawed, you should point it out. But typically people think in very different ways, and before summarily dismissing anothers view you need to assess its validity, or validate your own viewpoint. In a sense we always to calibrate our view in order to validate our perspective.

I find the current political discourse to be much ado about nothing. To me it is a lack of perspective from, now three sides, of the same coin. The level of communication is reduced to soundbites of attention getting non-sense or rallies about fundamentals. Some of these issues spring up because people have not found appropriate people with which to debate accurately or objectively.

A third political party has long been thought unnecessary. I disagree. I think we need a third team, who sits on the fence of the argument understands or strives to understand AND then communicate the broader and FINER points of the conversation as an arbiter. A negotiator if you will. An agent of compromise.

It is ironic that we strive for peace in the middle east for generations, and we dont strive for perspective or communication or facts in our political discourse.

I suppose the same happens all across America, in business arrangements (Reality TV shows are predicated on people who fail on many levels to communicate or lack perspective), families (divorce rate is pretty high, plus there is wife-swap the TV show), and friendships.

I can see the broadness of these effects in my microcosm, perhaps even being one of these people who lacks perspective or fails to communicate. ID'ing the issue is one thing. Fixing it is difficult but hardly does it qualify as impossible. Unfortunately it takes 3 people and time to fix it.