Two weeks ago I interviewed a Rabbi in front of a small audience in the chapel at my Methodist church. It was a refreshing and enlightening conversation. Last week I traveled from the suburbs to a school in Philadelphia to present at Career Day. I was in the very distinct minority, demographically-speaking, and it was delightful.
And through the miracle of podcasting, in the past several days I've listened to a conversation with three of Harvey Weinstein's victims, a panel discussion of Christians helping refugees, an interview with a drag queen, and a profile of a Jewish philanthropist. And as you can imagine, I learned a lot from each program.
Hearing the voices of people from all different walks of life with all different types of experiences makes me more informed and more compassionate. It makes me a better human.
Here are a few easy ways for you to gain a fresh perspective:
Listen to podcasts. There are podcasts about every topic imaginable. Stray out of your comfort zone. Or if you're sticking with podcasts you know you enjoy, when an interview with someone who isn't immediately interesting to you comes on, stay tuned because you just might be surprised by what you learn.
Browse or read magazines you wouldn't normally subscribe to. For me, that means flipping through my husband's photography and astronomy magazines. I also have a subscription to New York Magazine; half the articles confuse the heck out of me, but the other half really resonate. And when I'm at Barnes & Noble, I try to pick up something I've never looked at before.
Talk to strangers. My goal is typically to get in and get out of shopping situations as quickly as possible. I'm making a conscious effort to engage more by making eye contact or small talk with the people around me. Typically these conversations result in me once again realizing that I am more alike than I am different from most people.
Change the channel. I don't watch TV but I do try getting my news from a variety of sources. If I don't take the time to check out sources that don't feel natural for me, how can I learn about the priorities of those who count on those sources all the time?
Want to be understood? Seek first to understand.
Gain a fresh perspective.
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash