Everyone responds to the incentives, demands, risks, and situations they face – only a tiny bit of this is visible to anyone else.
That’s why I use the ‘blind men and the elephant’.
My point is not that we can ever see ‘the whole of the elephant’ – forget it.
Everyone’s world is their own, unique, based on what’s going on in their life and how they make sense of it.
The front end is sharp, spiky. Dangerous. Being there is a world of pain. Everything you send them looks like more spiky and dangerous stuff.
The very back of the elephant? The universe is only sending them one message – dung.
This can help us at three levels
- emotional literacy: if I don’t know what’s going on in their world, I can enquire, learn, adapt
- thinking strategically: ‘If I’m in elephant rider world, trying to work with elephant foot people, that’s not just person-to-person’
- thinking about changing the conditions of the different worlds – ‘how can I do what I need to do now, but make it slightly easier for our parts of the world to communicate’
What’s your best tip for getting into the worlds of other people – understanding what’s really going on for them?