Three blind men came across an elephant one day. Each one of them encountered a different part of the animal: one the trunk, one a leg and one the tail. Upon inspecting the animal from their individual vantage points, each came to a very different conclusion about what they were up against.
Said the one at the trunk, “My friends, this is obviously a large and powerful snake.”
Said the one at a leg, “No, no! It can’t be a snake. It must be a tree.”
Said the one at the tail, “I honestly can’t figure how you’ve come to your conclusions! It most definitely is a lion we’ve run into. I suggest we move along quickly!”
And so it is with many of the things we come up against. With limited information, we rush to a conclusion. We are so convinced of our point of view that we won’t listen to the perspective of others. Very few of us take the time to inspect “the elephant” from every angle, and so what we believe to be true is only part of the truth.
If, on the other hand, we took the time to get to know why those with different opinions hold the opinions they do, we might learn a little more about “the animal.” If we sought first to understand before we tried to be understood, we might get enough information to make a more correct judgment. Most people are willing to listen to your point of view if you’ve first heard them out sincerely. In the transfer of information and ideas about the problem, you might both come away with a broader and more accurate perspective.
Recognize that we all have a bit of blindness on any issue in which we come into disagreement. We know our perspective, but we shouldn’t hold that we have a lock on the truth until we have seen the issue from the perspective of the other person. In the end, none are so blind as those who choose not to see.