“If you think so, it is”.
Ever heard this quote before? I love it because of its subtle reminder that there is *always* another perspective and one that will most probably surprise us.
We each have individually charted the territory of our minds – shaping our beliefs, values, attitudes and the way we think. And as cognitive theory explains, it’s based on our past experiences; influences from other people (eg family, friends, acquaintances); learning and education etc. The way we think and view the world has been constructed from this.
Think of a map being drafted - for example in the 1600s - you’ll only see parts of the world in existence. Yesterday I saw a map from the early 1600s where only a small portion of the western side of Australia was drawn – it was so weird and cool! (I wish I was as fascinated with history as this when I was in school!). At that time, for all the draftsman-cartographer-guy knew, and to those looking at the map, it was *the* only part of Australia that existed and it was the very limit of Australia. But in reality, with a little further exploration and drafting – hey presto! A whole country and its entire shape has been discovered and drafted. So it’s not until we have this new perspective do we realise the full extent of what’s there.
Like my analogy? I thought it was quite clever actually! Now stretching this analogy further, the mind is the charted map - we only know what has been already experienced, learned and charted - and that is our absolute limit: the extent of our knowledge, beliefs, and thought patterns.
And then, someone else comes along, approaching from the eastern side of Australia and says “hey, there’s a whole new chunk over here to see”. And voila! You have new charted territory. At best you thought the map may curve around a little higher or lower, but no, in fact, a huge side of the same country also exists some 4000 kilometres away on the opposite side. Ok don’t take my map too literally here, but hopefully you’re catching the gist!
So coming back to the original quote, it can be applied in so many ways for example:
In conflict – there is always another side – a side that you may never have imagined existed. We may think or believe that we know the entire story. We have thought about it, reflected on it for quite some time and can only come to the same conclusion. But, but, but, we’re using only our pre-charted territory to do this reflection. It will most probably surprise you what the uncharted territory may reveal to you.
A personal struggle – again you may have thought about it and thought about it and can see absolutely no alternatives or solution. But, you see, again it’s being deliberated on using your pre-charted territory; where of course you cannot see another solution or alternative because you are within the limits of your own mind-space.
This is why it’s crucial to seek another perspective. Other people may show you the eastern side of Australia and therefore a totally different way: potentially bringing you major growth and healing. However, be mindful of who you choose to gain a different perspective from - new awareness is key - not destroying your expedition!
Be the explorer! Be curious and interested to see what may be on the other side of the country!