DEAF TO THE OTHER VIEW

PEO­PLE WHO THINK THEIR BE­LIEFS ARE IR­REFUTABLY TRUE ARE BLOCK­ING THEIR OWN DEVEL­OP­MENT

Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: NICK BEN­NETT Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: mind­saligned.com.au

As­sump­tions. They can re­ally make an ass out of you and me. That’s an old chest­nut whose truth is still res­onat­ing to­day. Work­ing with many peo­ple and more par­tic­u­larly in this in­stance with men as a per­sonal coach, I find time and again that the things that block devel­op­ment or pre­vent change are the as­sump­tions that their be­liefs are un­shake­ably true. When I chal­lenge a client to tell me where their be­liefs come from they will of­ten re­spond that they have al­ways be­lieved that par­tic­u­lar thing to be true. In other words their be­liefs about them­selves and their place in the world have been ac­quired when they were very young and were in­flu­enced by the en­vi­ron­ment and the peo­ple who were largest in their lives at that time. With the view that their be­liefs are un­shake­ably true, as­sump­tions and judg­ments about peo­ple, places, sit­u­a­tions and oth­ers’ be­hav­iour cre­ate con­flict in the work, re­la­tion­ship, com­mu­nity and fam­ily set­ting. The terms right and wrong get thrown around as though the per­son has ac­cess to the ab­so­lute truth be­cause they be­lieve it and make the as­sump­tion that ev­ery­one sees the world as they do – ex­cept for those who don’t and they can’t be trusted. It can be chal­leng­ing to ac­knowl­edge that ev­ery­one’s truth is dif­fer­ent be­cause ev­ery­one’s story is dif­fer­ent, so no one sees or ex­pe­ri­ences the world the same as any other per­son. As­sump­tion and judg­ment, teamed with a lack of com­pas­sion and cu­rios­ity, put the lid on any op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ing ef­fec­tive re­la­tion­ships. And in­ter­est­ingly this in­cludes the re­la­tion­ship with our­self. If we take the time to chal­lenge our be­liefs or even to re­flect by ask­ing “where does that be­lief come from? Given whom I de­sire to be, does it serve me in the best way?” we can usu­ally find a path­way from ig­no­rance to knowl­edge in look­ing back down our time­line and can iden­tify times, ex­pe­ri­ences or events where we were changed by the cir­cum­stance and our be­liefs changed. It is both amus­ing and sad that peo­ple are so dog­matic in hold­ing on to their be­liefs even in the face of ev­i­dence to the con­trary. Once the world was be­lieved to be flat, that the sun re­volved around the Earth and that cli­mate change was a myth. What are you as­sum­ing and how is that af­fect­ing you and oth­ers?

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