We seem to live our lives through filters. Choices, ways of being, decisions, are often filtered through past experience, likes, dislikes, cultural tethers, ‘parental programming’. This limits choices and the possibility to discover the extraordinary, because we want to box things into what we already know, not delve into the world of what we don’t.
Filters take on many forms. They can be by choice, such as prejudices, comfort zones, ratings, and I’ll get back to that in a moment, or they can be by circumstance such as being exhausted after lack of sleep and not having the energy to do something or be ‘present’ in a situation. As for ratings for example, how many times have you not gone to a movie or a new restaurant that caught your eye because the critics told you it was terrible?
At work, the filter that is most damaging is one of history and gossip where you hear the words and then abide by them such as “He/She NEVER delivers, is always late, is impossible to talk to etc etc. so whatever communication or interaction one has with that person is based on the past and filters everything in the present. That doesn’t give an individual a chance to grow or change now, does it?
The more personal filters keep us within the realm of what we already know. If we look to meet people from within our own race, religion, educational background, how will we ever know how rich and diverse this world is? Yet, when you look around, how many people surround themselves with friends who are generic to who they are? If you always went to restaurants you know, which served the foods you like, how will you know how much of an explosion of the senses curry could be or the beauty of an Asian dish that is laid out like a work of art? The same goes for different musical styles…places to go on vacation, things to study and learn.
Last week I wrote about learning how to say yes. Let’s take it one step further and see where this goes. Remove some filters. When you automatically feel yourself about to say no to a new experience, one that doesn’t put you in jeopardy of course, then stop for a moment and say ‘yes’ instead. Try a new kind of food, listen to music you never listened to before and go out of your way to meet and listen to someone from another culture or country and you’ll be amazed at how much deeper and richer your life will become. Remember if you prejudge a book by its cover, you’ll miss a heck of a lot of page turners!