Is Your Window Dirty?
We all have a metaphorical lens or window through which we view the world. It’s created by the culture in which we grew up. Even though I’ve traveled the world and experienced diverse cultures, I still mostly see the world through the eyes of a Midwestern farm boy. That’s where I developed my initial values that helped create my worldview—the way in which I see and interpret physical reality. Granted, my worldview has grown and matured as I experienced a wider slice of the world. But, those initial values are still present. I call this the “worldview window,” and it’s an internal structure of our ethical intelligence. We interpret reality by looking through this metaphorical window.
As we go through life, we accumulate “dirt” on this window, preconceived notions, prejudices, and stereotypes. If we don’t faithfully clean this window, it becomes so dirty we begin to see dimly or not at all. In my newest book on ethical intelligence, I recount the work of a German reserve police battalion “pacifying” a village during the summer of 1942. Within a period of about 14 hours, this reserve police battalion exterminated 1,800 Jewish women and children by gunshot. How did this happen? The worldview windows of those Germans were closed to the humanity of their victims. Once that happened, killing them became easier. Is your window dirty? Do you “see” everyone?
Do you see the “invisible” people in your life? These are people who do the small but consequential tasks for you. They clean our offices. They serve our drinks at coffee shops. They clean the schools our kids attend. They pick up our trash. They shine our shoes, as my friend Scottie in the nearby picture. Or Katherine, who diligently prepared my lunches at the deli for years. An ethically intelligent leader “sees” these people through a clean worldview window. Is your window dirty? Do you see these people in your life?
If you have doubts about the cleanliness of your window, I have corporate and executive life coaching services that can make a difference.