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Why Do We Do What We Do?

What do any of us really know about the shoes in which we have never walked? We do not know what we do not know. There is no way we could. Yet you hear people all the time speaking authoritatively about situations that they have never experienced.

As a white, mature woman, I can speak about the things I personally have experienced: growing up in a small town, going to a women's college, workplace discrimination, divorce and re-marriage, raising sons, etc. But I have no credibility making general judgmental comments about males, millenniums, non-whites, extremely wealthy, famous, etc.

I am a longtime subscriber to TED talks, a platform for spreading ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. This past week I listened to a 14-minute talk entitled What My Gender Transition Taught Me About Womanhood. It offers a very funny and insightful perspective of everyday experiences lost, gained and once taken for granted in the speaker's trans womanhood journey. She speaks of how clueless she was as a white, successful and well-educated, American male CEO, about what it is like to be a woman. Her shared examples are funny because as a male, she thought she was one of the good guys - sensitive to women, egalitarian. I encourage you to take 14 minutes to listen, and see how far off-base we can be about what it is like to be someone else without walking in their shoes. We don't know what we don't know, but the important thing is to be open to at least try to understand.


This Week's Focus:

This week, consider how often we jump to conclusions without a better understanding of what is driving a perspective. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Click on the serenity sticky to print, cut and post on your bathroom mirror to remind you of this week's focus. Good luck!

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