I’ll build on yesterday’s post on changing your perspective to make it easier to change your perspective with a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while.
Airports around the world are full of an ad campaign that provide another great exercise in enabling changing your perspective. Flexibility in changing your perspective is one of the most important tools in changing your world, creating freedom for yourself, and in building intelligence.
The ad campaign illustrates what I call the passive view of models. It demonstrates that we simplify objects and concepts by modeling them. In the case of the ad campaign, usually a word or two represents a good deal of meaning of what’s pictured. In practice we often represent things as complex as other people with a few adjectives and it suffices for most purposes. That simplification gives a thing a unique meaning to each person — subject to our perceptions, biases, experiences, and so on.
The campaign illustrates that different people model the same things differently or sometimes model different things as the same. The campaign implies understanding the differences are important for a company that operates globally. (I find equally significant differences tend to exist between you and your next door neighbor or between you today and you last week, but that’s another post.)
Here are some examples.
The campaign doesn’t imply the models are right, wrong, good, bad, evil, or evaluate them at all. It just points out different people have different models for things (or the same models for different things) and that the advertiser can accept people having these differences. The campaign doesn’t evaluate — it just presents. In fact, it makes a point of not evaluating. If it did it would alienate some customers. I find that perspective attractive — in business relationships and personal as well — so I try to espouse and practice it. I like people who understand people’s perspectives without judging them (behavior that affects others is another story). My community increasingly includes such people, crowding out the judgmental ones.
The campaign even implies the advertiser has greater value for accepting these different perspectives. I agree with the extra value that comes with accepting others’ values without judgment. I even try to go the extra step of celebrating others for knowing and sharing their values.
While the message that the advertiser understands different people seeing things differently is great, I’m after bigger fruit — improving my life. I suspect you are too.
What I call the active view of models is a step beyond just realizing different people have different models for the same thing or the same model for different things. It says that you can change your model when you want. By not saying any model is better or worse than another — that would be counterproductive for business — they illustrate you can choose among models based on other criteria, like what works for you, your other values, goals, community, etc.
So the next time you see some object and something about it brings you down, imagine if others might see the same thing differently in a way that might bring you up. The more you can see the world from another perspective, the more can improve how you perceive your world. Since the only way you can experience your world is through your perception, this change is the same as improving your world.
This ad campaign helps you do this exercise. It’s simplified, of course. When you’re trying to improve your life, it helps to take more into account than just what I’ve written. But that’s the point of exercises. You practice on simple cases to simplify hard or complex cases.
If their ad campaign helps drive business and results in satisfied customers, great. I find it more helpful in helping you change how you perceive your world and community, empower yourself, and think. I think the campaign is useful to help increase your flexibility in choosing different models for yourself.
I’ll return to the active view of models in other posts, including tomorrow.
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