Have you ever had a conversation, debate or argument with someone and had the distinct feeling they were coming from a completely different place to you? I imagine this left you in a difficult position, as it’s hard to find common ground, or compromise. We’ve ALL been there.
Imagine a TV screen. Imagine the screen is split into 2 million pieces which come together to display a beautiful, colourful HD picture which shows every tiny detail perfectly. Now imagine all the pieces disappear apart for 135 of them. Suddenly a picture made up of 2 million pieces has been reduced to a mere 135. Imagine what it would look like now. How much of it could you even make out? Would you be confident in telling people what that picture showed or what it meant? Do you understand enough of it to argue over it?
This is what happens in our brains every second of everyday. Our brains receive 2 million pieces of data per second, from our eyes, ears, skin, mouth, internal organs and neural processes. However amazing our brains are, they are only able to accurately process around 135 pieces of this data per second.
To make things a bit trickier…the 135 pieces our brain processes are picked according to what we already know (helpful or not) and then they are ‘chunked’ in line with our previous experiences, beliefs, current emotions and physical state. Basically, this means we only accurately see a small part of the world around us and even then, this part has been squeezed into whatever mould we have created for it, then padded out with whatever else is lying around in our conscious at that moment.
Because this information is vital for anyone who would like to be able to communicate better or improve the quality of their relationships.
Think about it, next time someone is DRIVING YOU UP THE WALL because they seemingly don’t understand where you’re coming from, remember this; the 135 pieces of data they are looking at are probably not even in the same ballpark as yours. So how could they POSSIBLY be seeing the same picture? Does it mean they are awful people, or stupid or unreasonable or impossible? No, it just means they see things differently to you, because of an internal process that is mainly automatic. Is this going to resolve your differences? Probably not. But it can rescue relationships from the merry-go-round of “right and wrong”.
You can control the beliefs, assumptions, knowledge and perspectives which shape what you see. Have you ever met someone who is fiercely optimistic, even when bad things happen to them? This could be because the beliefs, assumptions, knowledge and perspectives they have are naturally inclined towards positivity OR maybe they have chosen to be optimistic with the help of an ability we all have…neuro-plasticity – see my blog on this!
Either way, seeing things from a variety of perspectives is possible for everyone. You can develop techniques to change how you interact with the world, your family, friends, colleagues and most importantly yourself.
It all sounds quite confusing and overwhelming. So, maybe just use this information to forgive people and forgive yourself. Everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have, with the knowledge they have and the experiences they have been through. Be willing to look at another 135 pieces of data, consider another angle, view the world from someone else’s perspective. What you find might just surprise you.