“I like to challenge myself. I like to learn – so I like to try new things and try to keep growing.” You might be surprised to know that the quotation is from actor David Schwimmer. Have you ever felt this way or perhaps aspired to feel this way? Challenging ourselves is a great way to grow and intensify our relationships to ourselves and to others. But what about challenging your perspective? Or even being challenged on it by others?
Change versus Challenge
In our last blog, we rounded up various articles and blogs about what it means to change your perspective and why you should consider it, especially for work. A change in perspective can create a huge and positive shift. But for this blog, we want to talk about challenging your perspective. And by that we mean engaging in different opinions and different ideas, and shifting your perspective with others.
Changing your perspective on something is a mostly internal adventure. But challenging perspectives, in our eyes, is about engaging with others. Especially others with different opinions. So what benefits can we reap from challenging perspectives?
Positive Effects from Challenges
Do you know the adage “we only hear what we want to hear?” It’s something we all do and are surely guilty of at different times in our lives. It’s comfortable to stay with what we know and not have to really think hard about something. But it’s in those moments that we grow and change and usually into kinder, more thoughtful people.
As this article lays out, “Confirmation bias is the direct result of the influence of our desires on our belief system. When we want a certain idea or concept to be true, we filter out anything other than information and arguments that favor our beliefs….But each one of us has our own unique perspective, one that may be completely different from yours, and yet it is just as real and just as true for us as yours is to you.”
Accepting that we have a tendency to not want to be challenged while also remembering that each one of us has our own unique way of viewing things, you are then able to open yourself to how other people see things. And that helps to create empathy, too.
Word from the Experts
If that isn’t enough to convince you that challenging your perspective (or being challenged by others) is a worthwhile experience, then take it from the experts. This sociology blog talks about the real implications and ways to broaden your perspective by erasing confirmation bias. Not only does the blog talk about how technology can reinforce our confirmation bias, it also provides lots of links to websites that you may not frequent often so that you can read the thoughts and ideas of others that may challenge your own. What are you waiting for? Now is a great time to challenge your perspective!