We learn a lot when we expand our perspective. Despite many claims, we can’t ever look at anything from a different perspective; we will always have our own experiences, beliefs, thought processes and identities that will influence our interpretations regardless of our level of objectivity. While our perspectives will always be uniquely our own, we can expand them thereby expanding our horizons and our lives.
Expanding our perspective creates learning opportunities and the lessons can be tremendous. We can become more knowledgeable, insightful, wise and empathetic. We can’t help but grow and develop as humans; enhancing our learning, communication, creativity, relationships and work. We can do this in very ordinary ways in our day-to-day lives as well as through significant experiences.
I came across an article, “What I Learned as a Factory Worker in China,” by Ilan Mochari published at Inc.. This experiment was led by Ethan Bernstein, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, with the aim to research workplace transparency. Five students became workers at a Chinese mobile phone factory; they worked, ate and lived among the other factory workers who did not know of their identity or the experiment. Today, the students say that the things they learned from the experience are still with them.
While this experiment was limited in scope, the lessons learned rippled beyond workplace transparency. What can we imagine that we’d learn if we worked for a few months at a Chinese factory? The list is long, and includes insights that cannot be gleaned from books, news reports, interest groups, stock indices or quarterly reports.
How often do we step outside ourselves, our stories and dialogues, to attempt to shift and expand our perspectives? When we are able to do so we add depth and breadth to our experiences. We can’t help but create more rich, textured and beautiful lives for ourselves.