In recent days I’ve seen videos on social media of colour-blind people putting on glasses that allow them, for the first time, to see and appreciate colour. The effect is profound and their reaction is emotional; it’s clear that these people’s view of the world has been instantly transformed.

The vast majority of differences in opinion are based upon differences in how we see the world. If you wish to resolve a disagreement the first thing to do is to understand how the other person is viewing the situation. What are the key factors they’re considering? What are the assumptions that they are making about the issue? How have they developed their solutions and ideas?

In other words, like the people with colour blindness, you must put on metaphorical glasses that allow you to see the world the way others see it. Your view may be correct and superior to the other person’s, but you won’t build real alignment until you can understand how they’re approaching the issue. Only then can you address the issues that are most important to them.

Of course, it’s equally possible that your view is not necessarily correct and, that by seeing the world through a different lens, you are the one that shifts position! 

Personally, I have a red-green colour blindness called protanomaly that means that I do not see reds effectively and can get them mixed up with greens, yellows and browns. This is why I never use red tees when I play golf – I could never find them after hitting my drive! – and why I can’t spot red berries and flowers in trees and shrubs.

As with total colour blindness, there are glasses that I can buy which will help me see colours the way that others see them. I’d love to try them on.

What are the lenses that you need to use to help you see the world through others’ eyes so that you can overcome differences and find new solutions?

Off The Record: Blinded By The Light by Bruce Springsteen

And she was blinded by the light

Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night

Blinded by the light

She got down but she never got tight, but she’ll make it alright

© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.