#WeStayLearning Issue #006: My POV vs Your POV

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#WeStayLearning Issue #006: My POV vs Your POV
I started this show recently; it is called ‘The Affair’ and is about two married individuals who have an affair with each other. Each episode is often separated into two parts, with each half told from a specific character’s point of view. What fascinates me the most about the storytelling is that as you watch, you’d notice that there are differences in how both parties remember events. For example, the man will remember their first encounter as the lady came up to him wearing a black dress, whilst from the lady’s perspective, she’d remember standing by a bar in a yellow dress and the guy came up to her.
Apparently, it’s called memory bias.
I Googled it and saw this definition on alley dog: A Memory Bias is a deviation in recall where memories are either recalled more easily or with more difficulty than they should be. Memory bias can also alter recalled memories so that they are different from what actually happened.
Psychologists say our memories are not stored as exact replicas of reality. Instead, our memories are reconstructed during recall, and this recall process makes them prone to manipulation and errors.
There are many types of memory bias (you can read herehere and here); but the one that I think relates most to the Affair is the Egocentric bias where we are prone to recall the past in a self-serving manner—for example, remembering our exam grades as being better than they were.
Anyway, I went into a rabbit hole of memory biases. And, as I read, I began to get context to some things, like the reason why siblings who grew up together can remember their childhood very differently, or lovers their relationship, and friends a particular event etc. 
For different reasons, be it ego, response to trauma etc., we can experience the same thing but remember it differently. In fact, I believe that it’s not just a memory thing; it can sometimes apply to the actual experience itself. It is possible for two people to experience the same thing but process it in the moment differently.
We think differently as well. Really, we do everything differently, and that’s okay. No one’s thought process, experience or even memory should be faulted (except based on hard facts/evidence) because, in the end, we all see the world differently.
This knowledge is teaching me to be more empathetic, give people grace, take care to see it from their perspective, and make room for them. It’s like a reminder to, first of all, pause every time I want to argue against someone’s memory or experience or defend mine and to investigate so that conversation can potentially avoid conflict and change course for the better.
I had this same conversation with one of my coaches, and she just emphasized a few things:
  • First, we never can really tell what’s going through people’s minds.
  • People mostly speak and act from their perspective, and the only way to reach them & have a meaningful encounter is to understand where they are coming from and then present our opinions in a balanced way.
  • If your goal is not to moralize things, you will find that a lot of the time, people are neither right nor wrong, they just are, and that’s fine. However, if you have facts, present them with grace because their ignorance, different perspectives, or memory might just be from a sincere place.
  • When people argue with or lash out at you, especially (and this is important) in close relationships, more often than not, it is about an unmet need. So take care to find what the need is.
So next time you meet someone who thinks differently from you or recalls an event differently than you do; before you argue or get offended, please take a deep breath, hear them, really listen to them, and then (1) investigate yourself sincerely to see if you might be experiencing a memory bias (2) find a middle ground, (3) present your facts with empathy or (4) agree to disagree.
PS: We can’t eliminate cognitive biases, but we acknowledge our biases, better understand them and take steps to subvert and even leverage them. 

Founders Connect
In today's world, women are making moves, launching their enterprises, and performing exploits in their respective fields. However, much more work needs to be done since women continue to experience severe bias in the workplace, especially in Africa. https://t.co/S3fjtG4WcN
PPS: The first time I heard the word nepotism, it was in a negative context, and that stayed with me. But, in recent times, I’m afraid I have to disagree with that context. Of course, favouritism without merit is very problematic, but when you know excellent individuals, it is crucial to make room for them, vouch for them, and give them jobs.
And so one thing I kept telling people for IWD is, “Women as you rise, deliberately raise other women as well”. So pass the baton where you can, make room, give others a seat at the table. When you see a woman who is excellent at what she does - whether she is your family member or not - give her all the opportunities she deserves.
Happy Intl. Women’s day!
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