In a recent TEDtalk, Hans and Olin Rosling, a Swedish father / son team, provided some very interesting insights into how much we really know. In a surprising and challenging fashion they sermonized on “how not to be ignorant about the world”. Hans asked as series of worldly questions (multiple choice) relating to education, poverty and natural disasters. Interestingly the majority of the audience got all three wildly incorrect, which might be somewhat disconcerting.
However, what was more interesting relates to why people are so misinformed, by virtue of their incorrect answers. At its core, according to the Roslings, is the absolute power of our own existing perceptions and that they are not necessarily correct. He suggests that perceptions are framed primarily from our past, the people we surround ourselves with and the information we choose to digest. Relative to the latter, news media, politicians and marketers are specialists when it comes to exploiting this fact and know exactly how to press all the right buttons. They provide their compelling, albeit biased view, the result is that many of us believe it to be true.
I am not suggesting that what other people say is untrue but it often lacks full disclosure and is not set in the context of the big picture; this is not good. According to the Roslings, when we actually assess the big picture and deal more in generalities, we become much more informed. So as leaders, coaches and parents, it pays to step back and carefully reflect. Here a few tips to help you be more informed and subsequently make better decisions.
1. Don’t judge a book by its cover – read it
2. Listen to multiple points of view – hear all sides
3. Use your intuition – look to the heart as well as the head
4. See the possibility in positivity – not all news needs to be bad news
Ironically, despite higher levels of education and the infinite access to information, we are for the most part still very misinformed. By employing some of the strategies above you might be interested in what additional insights you gain and hopefully what better decisions you make.