Added to all the other problems brought on by COVID, we found ourselves even more isolated from each other. What busyness, social media, and general divisiveness started, the pandemic accelerated. Joywave lead singer, Daniel Armbruster, sings:
“Everything that you thought (confirmed)
Every fear you had lost (returns)
A film that you just can’t wash (has emerged)
But you cleanse, you cleanse, you cleanse
Basking in the blue glow
All the copy and pasted housing in a row
Where everything is airtight
And energy efficient, up to code
Yeah, every window is a mirror”
Confirmation bias makes it easy for us to filter what we see and hear and only allow in the stuff that matches what we want to be true. We naturally fear what we don’t know or understand. We all have things in our past that we wish could be different, and that movie can haunt us. So, we hide in plain sight. Glued to our screens and safe in our airtight bubbles, we can become lost in a world that is reflective, in a “showing us our reflection” way versus showing us our true selves way.
What if real windows are the kind of mirror we need?
There is a reason people want windows with a view in their homes. Property with views of mountains, streams, or forests sell for a premium for a reason: we all want to see something grand when we look out the window.
Sometimes the solution we need is internal. In recovery, we learn that when we are disturbed, the disturbance is in us. However, when we are blind to our own biases, the solution isn’t inside; it’s outside. We need to look past our airtight echo chamber and see what is around us. We need to hear voices that disagree with our own. We need to experience things from a perspective that varies from our routine. We need to breathe some outside air.
The mental property that comes with a view is also costly. It costs letting go of our old thoughts, paralyzing fears, and negative pasts. It costs the risk of having our minds challenged, expanded, and changed. It costs being open to being wrong about some things that we have been certain about for a long time. It costs change, and change is difficult.
Organizations sometimes find themselves in an echo chamber too. Leaders are susceptible to getting comfortable with the version of the world that matches what they want to be true. Where the leader goes, the organization will follow. If a leader can manage to open a window personally, then the organization they lead might open the windows too. So how do we do this? How do we open a window and see a larger world?
Set aside fear. Being open to new ideas doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up your identity or agree with everything you come across. Being open gives you the ability to think critically and more deeply about the world around you.
Get out of your bubble. Think for yourself; don’t let other people think for you. Step away from your social media crowd and do some source material research. Read the actual studies. Look at the raw data. Talk to real people affected by the issues rather than people who just talk about them.
Get curious. Ask good questions. Good questions don’t presuppose what the answer will be. Good questions are open ones. Good questions are honest.
Get ok with conflict. Healthy conflict, that is. Be humble enough to seek out people who disagree with you, and don’t be afraid of opposing viewpoints.
When builders became better at making houses that were sealed against air infiltration for energy efficiency, they created another problem. A tight home can exacerbate indoor air quality problems such as mold and dust, exhaust, and outgassing. Add to that all the synthetic products now filling our homes, and the result is poor air quality.
Our organizations need us to open the windows to the view and let in the air. When we do, we become curious, humble, and brave. We increase the length and breadth of our collective world and open the potential of our future. Be willing to not only look honestly in the mirror but also bravely through the window into the world; that is the Kimray Way.