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Valuing the Differences

Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy -- the mental, the emotional, the psychological

differences between people. And the key to valuing those differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.

If I think I see the world as it is, why would I want to value the differences? Why would I even want

to bother with someone who's "off track"? My paradigm is that I am objective; I see the world as it is.

Everyone else is buried by the minutia, but I see the larger picture. That's why they call me a

supervisor -- I have super vision.

If that's my paradigm, then I will never be effectively interdependent, or even effectively

independent, for that matter. I will be limited by the paradigms of my own conditioning.

The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual

limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with the hearts and minds

of other human beings. That person values the differences because those differences add to his

knowledge, to his understanding of reality. When we're left to our own experiences, we constantly

suffer from a shortage of data.

Is it logical that two people can disagree and that both can be right? It's not logical: it's psychological.

And it's very real. You see the young lady; I see the old woman. We're both looking at the same

picture, and both of us are right. We see the same black lines, the same white spaces. But we

interpret them differently because we've been conditioned to interpret them differently.

And unless we value the differences in our perceptions, unless we value each other and give

credence to the possibility that we're both right, that life is not always a dichotomous either/or, that

there are almost always Third Alternatives, we will never be able to transcend the limits of that

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart conditioning.

All I may see is the old woman. But I realize that you see something else. And I value you. I

value your perception. I want to understand.

So when I become aware of the difference in our perceptions, I say, "Good! You see it differently!

Help me see what you see."

If two people have the same opinion, one is unnecessary. It's not going to do me any good at all to

communicate with someone else who sees only the old woman also. I don't want to talk, to

communicate, with someone who agrees with me; I want to communicate with you because you see it

differently. I value that difference.

By doing that, I not only increase my own awareness; I also affirm you. I give you psychological

air. I take my foot off the brake and release the negative energy you may have invested in defending a particular position. I create an environment for synergy.

The importance of valuing the difference is captured in an often-quoted fable called "The Animal

School," written by educator Dr. R. H. Reeves.

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a

"New World," so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. To make it easier to administer, all animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made excellent grades in

flying, but he was very poor in running. Since he was low in running he had to stay after school and

also drop swimming to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he

was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that

except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so

much makeup in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustrations in the flying class where his

teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree-top down. He also developed

charley horses from over-exertion and he got a C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and had to be disciplined severely. In climbing class he beat all the

others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way of getting there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and also could run, climb

and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not

add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to the badger and later

joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 986

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