Perspectives: Right, Wrong or Just Different
Perspective is how we see life. Each one of us has had different life experiences. Those life experiences color how we see today. Two people can read the same article and walk away with very different viewpoints. Sometimes one person has had life experiences that are so skewed they interpret the data incorrectly; in other words - by the majority of viewers they would be considered wrong.
But this isn't usually the case. Most often, when two people see an article differently, each is simply seeing a different side of the same situation. With dialogue, they can come to see each other's vantage points and both walk away having a clearer understanding of the big picture. There are communication tools that can be used to help get us to this place of dialogue and clearer understanding.
First, we need to steer clear of accusations. If we rightly accuse, we have gained nothing. If we wrongly accuse, we have to eat humble pie. Accusing gets us nowhere productive.
Second, we should stay away from assumptions. Assuming we know another person's intent is a dangerous game. Assuming only makes... you know the rest. That saying is almost always true.
Third, we should avoid arrogance: the trap of believing only our interpretation is valid. When we come at a situation by trying to convince someone we are correct, we lose out on the valuable opportunity to learn something new ourselves.
When we believe we have identified erroneous thinking in someone else, asking questions to gain more information is a far better tactic than accusation, assumption or arrogance. While this is true for verbal exchanges, it is essential for the written format because our "intel" is so limited. We have only a snippet of the author's perspective. Without body language or vocal tone and inflection, we really have limited understanding of how that person meant his words to be conveyed. Even the best writer can be misunderstood.
A negative comment to one of my blogs set this post in motion, not because I was offended, but because I realized I owed another person an apology for a similar comment I had made. So, Jeanne, if you are reading this and have not yet seen it, please take a look at Jason's May 18 blog. I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness.