How Can We Both Be Right?

One of the reasons I love doing this work is that every experience we have is an opportunity to learn and watch the work in action. This week I had two experiences that were in such contrast to one another that it highlighted for me the importance of understanding our own “filters” and how they dictate to us what we will see and believe.

On one hand I received a Facebook invite from a young man whose name I did not recognize. I sent a note inquiring about how I knew him before I would accept his invitation. He responded with an endearing note about how my book, and the wisdom contained in it, had actually “transformed” his life and relationships. He was very enthusiastic about how practical and real-world the ideas had been for him.

Then I read some comments posted to an article written about me in the local paper. The article talked about this work and the way to “get another take on bad behavior.” A person wrote in saying what rubbish the ideas were and how useless it was to even consider doing some of the things I recommend.


How can the same ideas be “transforming” (in a good way) to one person and “rubbish” to another? Is that possible? The ideas are the same. I am the same speaker or writer. And the world to which we’ll apply any of the ideas is the same.

Or is it?

The truth is that this is a prime example of filters in action. If someone is open and interested in learning – and changing – they may see a new idea as transforming and be willing to try it and implement it in their own life. If someone fundamentally believes that everyone else out there is the problem, and they have nothing they can do in response but be carried away by their frustration and distress, than no one will be able to tell them differently.

Filters are incredibly powerful if we remain unaware of how they are impacting what we really see, hear and believe. We take an idea and then we literally translate it into our own system of understanding. We have to – as I have said many times, this isn’t necessarily “bad” and we aren’t bad people because we do this. We are just unaware of the process and being unaware leaves us with fewer options and choices about how to respond.

Personally I am a “choices” fan – I like to have options about what I can do, and how I may respond. Without choices I feel like I am just destined to follow someone else’s script. This week, consider your own choices in how you respond to others.Are the filters dictating what you’ll do or are you remaining, as Interested Observer, open to what may come your way?