Trapped in yet another Zoom call, I’m listening to a dozen colleagues as they discuss the virus, the economy, protests, elections and what-not and I had only one question:
Who are these people and what planet do they inhabit?
Then I realized they might be wondering the same thing about me.
Yes, I know I’m supposed to say we’re all in this together or some other claptrap, but the fact is that we’re all living in different worlds and we see only what’s in front of us in our personal version of reality. For instance, I know some people…
…who are making a killing as a result of the pandemic and others who probably will be out of business by the end of winter.
…who are raking in cash from Wall Street’s exuberance and others who are trying to scrape together lunch money on Main Street.
…whose careers will be mostly gone a few years from and others who are on an arc of long-term growth.
…who plan to be self-quarantined for many months to come and others who venture out without masks, getting up close and personal with anyone who crosses their paths.
The space between our daily lives and our fundamental perceptions can be huge, which makes it a major challenge to bridge the gap and understand each other. That assumes, of course, that we care enough to try, and that turns out to be a frequently flawed assumption.
Many people in my business/social circles have a tendency to reject the legitimacy of any ideas other than their own. When we do engage in a conversation, I’ve noticed that their goal is to convert, not to understand, so we are stuck at square one forever.
It’s our fatal flaw that we all praise innovation and American ingenuity, but we make almost no effort to be praiseworthy in our own lives. We marvel at tech upgrades and medical advances and new industries that overwhelm the traditional world, but we duck and hide when it’s our chance to become truly marvelous ourselves.
Reconsider our approaches? Challenge our conventions? Rethink our paths? No way, Mr. Feliciano. We’re fine with our thinking inside this box. New ideas are nice, in theory, but let’s not go crazy here.
We tend to think of change as something that the other guy needs to do, even though the only person we can change is ourselves. The funny thing is that we do change, multiple times, as events and our own evolution progress over time. Most of those changes, though, are unconscious, unintentional. When it comes to the type of changes that we can control the most, we suddenly become acutely aware and very, very resistant.
I’m not expecting much from the next Zoom call. We’ll all “walk in” with the same perceptions as the last time and it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll exit the session with our worldviews unaltered. From my screen, the new normal looks exactly like the old one.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.