Challenge Your Worldview

Each of us has a unique worldview.  It is human nature to form constructs and have predispositions as it helps us navigate the world, but the flip side of that coin is that our worldview can limit us.  When we hold tight to our worldview, we automatically shut out valuable information that could be of benefit.  

After we step off the curb in Chicago and see somebody else who did the same get hit by a car, ‘don’t jaywalk in Chicago’ becomes part of our worldview.  It is imperative we learn from our experiences.  Particularly when we are growing up, we establish all sorts of rules based on our interactions with others that create the worldview we now use to navigate life.  The rub is that often our worldview is operating in the background, influencing our interactions with others without our knowledge.  It limits our perspective by coloring the lens through which we see the world, like how wearing sunglasses distorts true colors.  It inhibits our ability to learn new things, and to understand and relate well with others.  

We can’t undo our worldview; it is a core part of each and every one of us.  But we can become aware of how it influences our relations with others and make deliberate choices of when and how we use it.

What Color are Your Glasses?

The voice inside our head is constant.  It tends to be repetitive and typically represents long-held beliefs that we are not consciously choosing in the moment.  The first step in challenging our worldview is being able to recognize its influence.  To do so, turn inward in real-time and listen to what the voice inside your head is saying. For example, many of the hugely successful leaders with whom I work have a ‘not good enough’ voice that speaks about the inadequacies of others and themselves.  This critical filter of high standards is a core element to being successful, but it also limits the ability to hear new and innovative ideas from others. Once we see this worldview in action, it no longer has automatic control over our interactions.

Fact Check Yourself

The ability to monitor ourselves gives rise to choice in our words and actions. As outlined in the book Factfulness, we tend to operate on instincts instead of current research-based information.  Once we hear what the inner voice says, we can challenge it.  We can be the investigative reporter fact checking what is being said.  We ask, what is the factual basis? What are the assumptions and how did they come to be? We check if the assumptions are applicable in this moment and in this instance.  One worldview I held that was recently debunked by reading Factfulness is that people vary primarily by culture.  “Country stereotypes simply fall apart when you look at the huge differences within countries and the equally huge similarities between countries on the same income level, independent of culture or religion.”  Now that my worldview has been fact checked to include the information that people are more similar based on income level than based on culture, my listening filter has been updated.

Step Into Other’s Shoes

After we see our worldview in play, the next step is to intentionally take other’s perspective as a matter of practice. We can choose a receptive listening filter to deliberately expand what we already know and see if there is something new we can learn.  We can ask genuine questions that help us really understand others’ points of view, seeking information about their assumptions.  We can be the investigative reporter with others in the same way we are with ourselves.  In particular, we can seek to uncover their underlying assumptions and research-based facts they may have to support what they are opining.  With this type of listening comes a new level of understanding that can expand our worldview.

Acknowledging that our worldview influences our interactions without our consent, we can make a shift to challenge it.  Noticing the color of our glasses and acting as the investigative reporter for ourselves and others, we unlock the opportunity of seeing the world from different perspectives.  We open up the possibility of constantly learning and relating with others much more effectively.