LinkedIn Conscious Business Week 5: Responsibility
From the introduction:
For each week of this course I am going to take my notes on what I learned and turn it into a short blog post. I am hoping this will encourage you to take a look at the course and maybe do it yourself.
This week’s Conscious Business post is focused on humility.
Knowers and Learners
We are always told that people have a differing views of the world. Obviously then, it is their views which determine their opinions and thoughts, and therefore their actions. And it is the way that a person deals with these differences determine is they are a “knower” or a “learner.”
“Knowers, also known as “Know-it-alls” claim to always know how things are, how they ought to be, and what needs to be done. They give a lot of orders and ask very few questions.“
Knowers tend to place their self-worth on being right and so they make it their mission to convince, and sometimes force, their views on everyone else. They believe that there is one way to see a situation and the world around them and therefore those that don’t agree with them are wrong.
“Learners are curious and humble, less certain about how to interpret what is going on and what to do about it. They are more inquisitive than directive. They tend to consider others’ perspectives instead of imposing their own.“
Learners place their self-worth on staying open to the differing opinions and views of others. They believe the opposite to Knowers, that their view is a smaller part of the larger picture and so they invite others to share their views with the hope that the Learner will gain a better understanding of a situation.
The reality is that our minds are fairly limited. They cannot understand all parts of a situation at the same time. And so we need to be able to understand and work with those of differing views and opinions. Instead being a Knower and forcing people to conform to your opinions, it is a more productive and insightful to act as a Learner and be open to new ways of seeing the world.
Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant
This is a story and originated in the ancient Indian subcontinent and are found in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain texts.
A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.
This parable describes the limits of perception in the real world. It shows that no one person can know everything, and when we act in that way we limit our understanding of the world. And just as with the Knower, it is unproductive for the person who is feeling the ears to force their opinions on the person that is feeling the trunk.