Isn’t it Obvious?

by | Sep 17, 2019 | Experiences, Peter's Voice

We say something is obvious when we can clearly see it. It’s right in front of us.

When something is obvious to us, we expect it to be obvious to others as well.

“How can you not see it, it’s so obvious?!”

I’ve worked with several small businesses whose founders saw the obvious benefits of their products, and I’ve interviewed many people who told me how they were an obvious fit for the open position. In both cases, what was apparent to them, wasn’t clear at all to me.

Because of these experiences, I’ve come to understand that nothing is obvious to everyone. We all have different ways of looking at the world and different values. 

For example, Beth regularly buys fresh flowers. When we have them, she trims off the stems and changes the water to make sure they stay fresh and last longer. They look beautiful and make the house feel fresher.

But, for the most part, I don’t see them. As I walk around the house, the flowers seem to be outside my focus. It’s not that I’m avoiding them or I think they’re bad. I just have a different perspective, and the way I look at the world and value things, flowers just don’t rank.

While the flowers are obvious to Beth, I’m oblivious to them.

It’s similar to what we see in the news. People are arguing about all sorts of issues.

When I see people arguing about different positions, I can see why they don’t understand each other. What is obvious to one group is invisible to the other. When they argue, they think that if the other side were only smarter or more knowledgeable, they would reach the same conclusion.

But, the other side is usually looking at the issue differently. Their perspective is not necessarily right or wrong. It’s just different. Fighting about the conclusion derived from different perspectives is futile. Understanding and maybe even appreciating one another’s perspectives is how we can find common ground.

As with the flowers, Beth and I could argue about their importance and what they mean to us. But, how will that help the other see them differently? We have different perspectives, different values, and therefore what is obvious to one is not to the other. Neither of us is right or wrong – we’re just different – and we’ve learned to appreciate it.

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