I say this with sincerity, because everything I learn exposes other things that I don’t know — new questions, new unknowns, new explorations. As Superintendent, this provides that ‘fire-in-my-belly’ for me to push ahead.
The opportunities to learn are limitless. There is no finish line.
Does increased knowledge translate into having wisdom? Are people who know lots of stuff necessarily wise?
Wisdom requires more than knowing a collection of stuff.
WISDOM results when one’s knowledge is blended with HUMILITY, REFLECTION and GROWTH.
Humility provides the mindset to truly understand your learning journey;
Reflection results when you process context and previous learning into your new learning; and
Growth happens when the knowledge you learn broadens your understanding.
We all categorize things — it’s how we sort our world and make sense of it. Good things over here — bad things over there. Similar things in this box — other things in another box. Even Sesame Street encourages us to sort our world.
We also categorize people. Yes, we do. All of us. Sometimes we assign them a description without knowing enough. And, if you think you don’t do that — you’re wrong.
We read a news article about a person and consciously assign intent or bias
We see someone speeding down the road and label them as dangerous and thoughtless
We dislike someone’s decision so, therefore, that person ‘just doesn’t get it’
We all do it. But, why?
It’s easier to assign intent to others which then justifies our own bias — the other person is either in-line with our own thinking and an ally, or their intent is misguided and they are an adversary.
By assigning intent without inquiring about it, we limit the amount of time we need to put into understanding someone.
Pick a topic, especially one that has a pretty clear line of delineation — global warming, poverty, systemic racism are three that come to mind. All three have some pretty polarizing viewpoints. It’s easier to align oneself with those who are similar to yourself and also assign blame or ignorance to those who are not.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a look at social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I wrote a Nov 2020 blog post about how social media platforms have algorithms that use Artificial Intelligence to find persons who are aligned with your way of thinking. Your clicks, swipes and pauses all help shape the opinions you see on these platforms. Social media builds your belief that many others think just like you — it’s a main reason why the platforms are so popular.
This blog is about Social Media. But, before I delve into that topic I’d like to start by talking about something else — PERCEPTION and it’s incredible importance in our daily lives and our reality.
Perception overrules Facts every time. Facts represent the truth, but perception represents our actual reality. We remember facts because we process them through our senses (touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing). We filter them through these senses and, by doing so, actually interpret them from our past experiences — every time. And while we may want to believe that we are not being judgmental — that we are always being objective in our thinking and conversation — we are not. Our ‘objectivity’ is actually subjective in nature because we have created meaning out of what we have observed. This meaning is created when we link our present experiences to the previous — our past understandings, emotions and feelings.
Personal lens: The filter that we all use that interprets our environment. It shapes our perception of events through our own experiences, emotions and beliefs.
It is our personal lens that creates our unique reality — our perception of the world around us. It is why two people can ‘see’ the same thing yet come away with two completely different understandings of what they ‘saw’. For example, courts rely less on eye witnesses than they do on things like DNA evidence, because DNA doesn’t require a filter to exist.
People are shaped by their perceptions and are frankly not that reliable in their objectivity.