One reason it’s difficult to understand each other is that behind the words we use are the worldviews, the emotions and the beliefs we have before we even consider what’s being said.
Before we get to right and wrong, good or bad, effective or ineffective, we begin with worldview.
They affect the way we choose a car, engage in a conversation or vote. These cultural and learned worldviews alter the way we see and hear and speak.
Words like: Fairness, change, interference, freedom, responsibility and opportunity trigger different reactions based on worldview. It’s always easier to encourage action based on an existing worldview than it is to change that view.
The columns below don’t line up for everyone (or anyone), but instead highlight different instincts on different axes on how each of us see the world in any given moment…
|An all-powerful authority||Treat others as you’d |
want to be treated
|Confidence, results, |
right now, right later
|Exploration, truth, working toward perfect, always a little wrong|
power, agency, taking space
|Role awareness, dignity, |
giving space, flexibility
|Deserve, entitled, keep||Share, distribute, invest|
|Ends and means||Means and ends|
|Getting things done||Listening, speaking up |
and being heard
|Patriotism, nationalism, |
|Community, ecology, |
|Power, authority, compliance, respect, status||Fairness, hope, justice, |
|Realism, denial||Optimism, pessimism|
|Rewards, incentives, |
|Equity, fairness and |
the alleviation of suffering
|Urgency, triumph, |
|Self control, |
long-term thinking, wisdom
Once we understand the landscape that someone sees, we have an easier time using words and images to fill in that landscape, to create a story that they can hear and understand, and, perhaps, we can make change happen.