In this day and age where media manipulation is very real with fake facts, the truth can seem ambiguous. Imagine being in an argument where someone comes up to you, shoves a fistful of papers into your hands and declares their statement to be the truth because their sources say so. How do you keep making progress in those situations?
Data can be easily manipulated to support one’s confirmation bias. But let’s say the data is correct. Why can it be so difficult for both yourself and others to perceive what the truth of the matter really is?
The answer lies in distinguishing what is true for a person and what is an universal truth.
How Your Brain Perceives Truth
When you go out into the world, you are not experiencing it completely. Your brain is filtering on what you think is important. If it didn’t have that function, it would implode from sensory overload. This is why the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon exists, where you start frequently noticing something you just learned about.
This gives new meaning to the term “seeing is believing”. Whatever we are used to experiencing becomes true to us, regardless of proof or logic. For example, let’s take a look on how we use social proof to dictate our actions.
Our brain is very attuned to the expectations of others but not in a rational manner. When we say “everybody”, this is when our brains take the influence of those closest to us and extrapolates their opinions onto everyone else in the world. Why is this important?
Our fear of the opinion of “everybody” is a component of the inner critic, the most paralyzing part of us. But now that we know how part of the inner critic is formed, this means if we can control our perception of the world, we can control our inner critics. Imagine being free of that voice constantly putting you down and calling you an imposter.
How Your Team Perceives Truth
If you have ever experienced a meeting where it blew up into an intense argument or cold passive aggressiveness, have you ever wondered how why the situation turned out that way?
Let’s go back to how we just talked about perception.
Your perspectives of the world, born of your personal experiences, are unique to you. This means what you experience becomes true to you. However, they are not necessarily true to someone else. That is why it’s so important to be curious and understand before rendering judgment.
Conflict is not always bad for a team. In fact, it is vital to making progress. However that can only happen when team members can overcome their more judgmental perceptions of each other.
If one person thinks poorly of another because they think they have an ulterior motive, even if that’s not the reality of things, what will happen? They will listen to the narratives their minds have created, based on what little information they have. People are naturals are jumping to conclusions and they don’t even realize it.
Yet as a leader, your job is to facilitate any team that is under you. That means being able to talk about what everyone knows for sure and what they don’t. Being transparent and coming from a place of a common purpose will help unify a team.
How Your Customers Perceive Truth
This perspective on interacting with your team can also be used in your conversations with customers or clients.
Creating a strong relationship with your customers can make or break your business. That is why you need to understand where they are coming from or in other words, the truths of their reality.
It is absolutely crucial that you approach these conversations with an unclouded perspective. Any time you try to impose your world view onto a customer, you are fulfilling the hated used car salesman stereotype. Instead, why not see if you can find out what is truly a problem for them and how you could help?
This isn’t about being manipulative to get a sale. If you are trying to sell something you don’t believe in, people can tell. Additionally, if you don’t care about who you’re selling to, people can also tell. Authenticity remains the best and most human way to get sales.
This is about creating a strong relationship and making a lasting impact. Plus, having repeat business never hurts, right?
Truths do exist in this world, but only outside of perception and judgment. Those who are able to expand their perspective beyond these limiting beliefs tend to be very successful.
However the only obstacle for anyone trying to accomplish this is themselves. Going beyond your own perspective and tuning into the truths of other people requires you to get past your ego and open up your thinking.