We’re about a quarter of the way into our month with guests. And we’re having a wonderful time — it’s fun to see San Francisco and even America through the eyes of someone from a different part of the world. We’ve shared stories, laughed about cultural differences, and created good memories.
It’s also made me revisit a basic fact that I sometimes forget. We’re all aliens, walking through the world. Our understanding of our environment and especially others is partial at best. Our personal filters cloud our ability to see other viewpoints, and to communicate.
There’s so much that we don’t see, or that we simply infer. We have huge blind spots. We ignore things to simplify our lives, and we also make assumptions that can negatively impact the quality of our lives. And we often don’t even know we’re doing it.
One other observation is that the act of “unwinding” from stress and time pressure can change our perspective. As I’ve de-stressed over the past few months, I’ve been far more open to emotion, and connections with others. Photos of an old friend getting married made me cry – and connections with my friends have become so much more important.
It’s good to have this concrete reminder of our alien nature – that communication isn’t perfect, perception isn’t the same, and that we’re all speaking different languages with different context even if the words are the same.