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I don’t do airplanes!

A number of years ago I asked a member of my team to make travel plans to visit a facility in another city. Almost instantaneous she became distraught.

“I don’t do airplanes!”, she exclaimed. “I don’t like them!”

After a brief conversation I learned that she had never been aboard a plane, nor had she been in an airport.

“How do you know that you dislike something you’ve never done?”, I asked. “I just know!”, she declared.

After a bit more pushing and prodding, we finally reached an agreement that she would try traveling in a plane before we explored other options.

Recently, I ran into this same woman and she reminded me of the airplane fiasco I mentioned above. She then went on to tell me how much she now enjoys flying and thanked me for challenging her preconceived notions about airplanes.

Our interaction, caused me to pause and ask myself whether I needed the same intervention I provided her, in regards to prejudices I have, without the actual experience to merit my stance.

Initially, my thoughts kept drifting towards phrases I’ve heard from friends and colleagues who displayed similar traits of prejudice or ill-advised preconceptions.

Things like:
Colleague: “I hate New York! To much garbage and to many rats! To many people too!”
Me: “When did you go to New York?”
colleague: “I haven’t been there. I hate that city!”
Me: “Then how can you be so sure you hate it?”

Isn’t it both funny and frightening how easy it is to identify whats wrong with the people around us? Somehow we all have a Ph.D in what other people need to change.

Myra-Kassim-In-the-absence-of-information-we-jump-to-the-worst-conclusions-Framed-Quote-780-e1369320599178Eventually, I managed to focus in on my own preconceived notions and question their origins.

This week I’m asking each of you to do the same.
My questions for reflection are:

  • What prejudices and preconceived notions are you fostering?
  • What influenced your position on the matter?
  • What steps will you need to take to bust your myths?

If my former team member hadn’t acted on the opportunity to bust her myth about airplanes, she might still be taking trains, buses and automobiles to travel to distant destinations.

Busting her myth has saved her countless travels hours, increased her productivity and possibly saved her job.

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

I am now in the process of busting a few of my myths and I’ve already experienced the benefits of clarity and truth.

This week, take on the challenge of questioning your bias. I’m confident you’ll reap the same clarity and truth.

In the meantime…
Stay inspired, it’s a lifestyle choice!

  • Mike A

    Amazing post

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