There is but one reality; that is true—but the two of you experience it in slightly different ways.
-The Cinder Spires by Jim Butcher
Based on your experiences, goals, and personality you will experience the world in a different way than all other people you meet. The difference might be really small or very big. But we all focus on, see, and remember different things. This will cause a lot of conflicts and frustrations. But it will also create amazing solutions, make us learn new things and see problems in a different way.
We often need the similarities to start collaborating and getting to know one another. Then we need the differences to creates something unique.
“One should never mistake pattern for meaning.”
– Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
Humans are pattern-seeking machines. We try to find connections everywhere and we will find them even if they are not there. After we find a pattern the story-machine takes over and will immediately create a story to explain the pattern and it will search in your vast memory to find all the evidence that will boost the story and the pattern, and hide away all the evidence that contradicts it. These two machines has created many horrors and wonders.
‘Hand speak expresses things that are either too basic to waste words on or too personal.’ ‘Too personal?’ ‘Yeah, stuff that’s really important or hard to say. Like about love or hate or stuff you’re scared about. You know how when you have something big to tell someone, you stammer through it or sit in front of your mirror practising what to say? Aandrisks don’t bother with that. They let the gestures take care of all the awkwards. They figure that big, deep feelings are universal enough to be defined with just a flick of the hand or whatever, even though the events that cause those feelings are unique.’
– Becky Chambers, The long way to a small angry planet
Research by Paul Ekman states that we have six basic emotions that are recognized across all human cultures: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. It’s interesting that four of them are negative, only one positive, and then one that could be either positive or negative (surprise).
I can’t remember where I read it but someone explained that the difference between emotions and feelings is: emotions turns into feelings when we become conscious of them and stark thinking about them. I like this distinction because it can make it much easier to think about my basic emotions and differentiate them from all the stories I create in my mind based on what happened.
Another good distinction is made in non violent communication where they separate thinking and feeling in a similar way.
“The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.”
– Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon
When we join a new organisation, we get a new role or become part of a new team we can easily see all the strange behaviours and norms that they have. After a while, the strange behaviors and norms seem to disappear, and we become blind to them as well.
As a manager or coach, we have an enormous challenge when we get new people on board. This first period is when people are least likely to give feedback, but it is also the time when we need to ask them for it.