The Genesis of Perspective (GT Connext)

In his September/October 2012 Gatekeepers column, Dr. Sam Chand offered phenomenal insight on 8 common challenges and experiences of today\’s leaders. The key to success is being aware of them, recognizing them and learning how to conquer them.

Make sure you grab the September/October 2012 issue to read Dr. Chand\’s invaluable ideas!

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In his piece, Dr. Chand referred to six primary sources of our perspective. We figured we would allow him to elaborate a bit more on each of these sources, right here in our exclusive GT Connext section!

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Gaining new perspectives is always rewarding. But getting perspective means forcing ourselves to think in new ways. Our tried-and-true methods of thinking won’t lead to finding different methods of competing or fresh paths for serving. Since it’s important to be aware of how we developed our current thinking, let’s examine the six primary origins of our perspective:

1. Family
Our family is the first core group that teaches us how to think something through. This is where we get our core values, our history, our prejudices, fears, biases and preferences.

2. Friends
The second group that becomes important to us is our friends. When we interact with our friends, they bring all the influences of their families with them. If you have three good friends, all of them bring their own universes to the table. When you’re talking, they’ll say, “My mom does this,” “My dad says this,” “We would never do that,” or “Why don’t you do that?” Even as kids, they help us think through things because they bring us another perspective.

3. Foes
Then there are our foes, our enemies. These are people who don’t like you, don’t care for you, who don’t wish you the very best. When they raise issues that you know don’t have your best intent in mind, it helps you to see things in a different perspective. Perhaps you are in a meeting and you know that there’s somebody there to undercut you. They are not there for you; they are there to challenge you by raising issues about your department. This is just the way they think. The way to win with this enemy is to think like the enemy. So, you begin to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and that gives you a new perspective.

4. Culture
The culture that we’re in also gives us perspective. By culture, I’m talking about regions of the country and parts of the world. If you’re from the northeast and I’m from the south, our cultures are different. We will interact differently, think differently, and emphasize things differently.

5. Education
Our education also provides perspective. Simply because they’ve been informed at different levels, those who have a GED or a high school diploma look at an issue one way, while those who have a college education will look at the same issue another way. Both parties have been informed. One has been informed more formally, while the other has been informed more informally.

6. Ancient Wisdom
Then there’s the ancient wisdom that’s embedded in our subconscious, which tells us we can do this, but we shouldn’t do that. The Bible’s book of Proverbs talks about this. For example, I have been away from my home country of India since 1973, yet there are things from that ancient wisdom that remain part of me. Once we become aware of the boundaries of our thinking, we can proactively push past these borders to develop new perspectives.