I’m always amazed at how differently I seem to think from others.  There was a time when I didn’t really realize that my world was colored differently.  In fact, I assumed that there was a general consensus with everyone around me that we were all enraged or delighted by the exact same things.  There were even times, in early womanhood, that I thought, “well, if they think this, then I must as well”, and I went right along with it.  But as I grew with experiences, personally and professionally, I started I realize that I was doing myself no favors trying to reach this “consensus” of thought.  No matter what I tried to do, I wasn’t going to agree with EVERYONE.  Humans, I think, have personalities and thought processes that are made up of differing experiences in their lives and therefore, their reactions are colored by them.

For example, one person might have grown up in a home that valued education because their parents were educated and expected it whereas another person might have grown up in an environment where education wasn’t even thought of as an option because their parents might not have had the opportunity or inclination to further their education and pass that value along to their children.  Those two people would then view their futures differently.  The one who grew up in the family that valued education MIGHT, and I say might because everyone is their own person and this is a hypothetical, feel a college education was a given and attend and complete their education as expected.  This might be done without any particular passion because “it is just what is expected” or it might be done with the utmost passion because “it is making my family proud”.  The way that this is viewed by that person, I think, would depend on that person’s relationship with his family and whether or not he/she gained that interest in a healthy or a traumatic way.  Another way this person might respond is to rebel and reject any idea of furthering their education because they simply do not want to involve themselves in something they know their family values because they have some type of negative feeling toward that particular value within their family system.

The same could be said for our other hypothetical person, the one whose family did not particularly extend value to the idea of furthering one’s education.   Because this person’s family could seem ambivalent about the concept, that would color this person’s experience.  Should they value education?  Would they even know to value it if they never learned about their options?  And if the family did not teach it, where were they to learn about their options? For this person, it would most likely be from friends and the school system.  It is those experiences in the school environment and with their peers that would start to create new thoughts and inform choices about that topic.

So, now we have come full circle.  Thoughts are shaped by experiences.  Our thoughts determine the way we view things and it forms our perspective.  That perspective is used by us to form opinions about things like education, popular culture, relationships, work, etc…  That perspective is shaped by who we were as children and what we experienced in the journey to becoming adults, and even our continued experiences as adults.  Becoming aware of that is key. Not every person you meet will have had the same experiences as you, so you and another person will most likely never have the exact same perspective on all things.  And that’s great! Where would the world be if we all thought the same and there was no intelligent discourse? My opinion…it would be a very boring world and one with limited growth.

It would behoove us, positive thinkers, to respect those with differing perspectives and understand that we cannot force an agreement, although we may wholeheartedly believe that the perspective they have is detrimental to that person and just plain wrong.  It may harm a relationship with someone if you cannot accept that their perspective on a topic is different from yours.  Remember, our experiences shape us.  If you would like to help build a different perspective in someone, give them a new positive experience to help change their thoughts on the topic…or not.  It’s a “win win” when we can all agree to disagree and are able to come out of it with a smile and the ability to acknowledge that that is just how they see it.

Yeah, it is a Saab commercial, but I love the idea and great visuals. With a change in perspective, all sorts of good things can happen. Think big! =)

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