Clearly the title kinda gives away the punch line of this weeks ramblings so let’s jump right in to the topic of subjective reality.
Subjective reality refers to the reality inside your mind. It is the meaning you assign to things and events. All objects, dreams ideas and “truths” are different for each person.
You’ve been on your career journey for x number of years. You may have worked in a bunch of different places, maybe done different roles and worked with a variety of different people.
I’ve been on my own career journey for 19 years. I’ve worked in a bunch of different places, In a bunch of different roles, with a varied mix of people.
Now we come to work in the same organisation, in the same team and we’re facing the same problem. We both know a way to solve it, based on our personal experiences and learnings, but our ways are different. Which one is the right one to choose?
How about if we’re both asked to come up with a list of 5 things that would help the team to gain a deeper understanding of the agile mindset? We both do this but collectively come up with 10 separate ideas. Which list should we use?
What about this – we both get asked (separately) to describe our current place of work and what the biggest issue we face is. We both give our answers, which are totally different, so which one is the truth ?
In all 3 scenarios the answers are born from the same place. We’re both right.
Both of our solutions to the problem, all 10 of our ideas, and both our answers to the final question are the truth.
But our truths are different! We can’t both be right – right?
Wrong. They can. They are.
This is a critical concept to grasp if you want to truly deepen relationships at work and in life. To accept the realisation that your opinion is not the only valid one in the room. Your option might work, but it’s highly likely that so could someone else’s.
It’s a reminder that we need to be open. Not to select who to agree with to satisfy our confirmation bias (the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses)
Another vitally important point here is that given that everyone has their own truth, we cannot all hold the absolute truth, else all our truths would be the same. So, whilst your personal truth is real, it’s only one part of the whole. There will be others truths that layer and build upon yours and vice versa.
Again – If 2 people have different realities then independently they can both only be the partial truth. The absolute truth is not held by any one of us but is the sum of all our partial truths.
The bottom line is this: In order to see and accept colleagues, friends, family, even strangers as they truly are i.e. fellow humans with beliefs, feelings and personal experiences, we have to embed this deep within us. It needs to sit in the core of our being.
Now pause for a moment, take a breath and then look at the people standing or sitting next to you right now as you read this. Open your heart and mind towards them and remove judgement as you remind yourself that they have different truths than you, but that theirs are as real as yours. No more, no less.