Our own experiences and learnings carve out our understanding and acceptance of the world around us. As we experience happiness, we reinforce the things that happen around us at that time. As we experience pain, we build a coping strategy to help protect ourselves from this in the future.
These responses and reactions or bias become a part of who we are, how we act, and what we believe. They become embedded in our behaviour. Some of these biases can be useful, some destructive.
So what happens when you deliberately decide to challenge some of these deep routed learnings/behaviours?
Last week, I attended a short training session. The subject area is immaterial, but I knew that there would be a difference to what my routed understanding was/is of this area. The training was delivered. Throughout the session, I felt an urge to challenge, but I decided to sit on my hands – to option to silence. I felt an urge to walk out, but I decided to stay.
This was tough.
My wiring/bias was being challenged. The session was inviting me to change the polarity, upsetting the learning that I have previously held. If you are familiar with the insides of a cable network switching box, then you will remember that there are lots of wires that are there to let person A talk to person B etc. These wires were akin to the inside my head, and some of the cables were getting ripped out and cross-wired leading to confusion and disrupted thinking.
I got angry. I started to defend my position in my head, disregarding the illogical statements that were being made.
Then I reflected.
This WAS the reason that I had come along.
I WANTED to understand how I could learn from something different from my understanding.
I WANTED to challenge so that I could improve.
Is there a right or wrong here?
Surely what matters is how the background information is interpreted in real life. And, it is this ability to experience the difference that sets us apart. This abiliity IS the richness of what life is about.
I am still not 100% in agreement with the content. Where I am is a place of better understanding. It is a place where I can hold the tensions for both systems. It is a place where the learning experience has enriched my knowledge through the challenge.
If we move this out of the learning construct to real-world dynamics – how much of the time do we accept what our bias is without revisiting them?
And how rich would we be if, on occasion, we put ourselves in the line of fire to experience something slightly different to our pattern of life?