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First Hand

Getting away can be a good vehicle for seeing your world differently. I’ve written before about the power of seeing other parts of the world or leaving the office, the work routine, and the clients behind in order to get a different perspective. Grabbing some distance can provide some much needed breathing room. Often, we get so caught up in things that we forget what our focus was. We can lose sight of what matters most. And there are times that we simply need to catch our breath!

Have you heard about the Grand Canyon? It’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and I was there last week. I’d certainly heard about it. And I’d learned about it in school. I’d seen pictures of it.

Confession: it wasn’t on my list of things of places to go. However – the Grand Canyon Railway is a railroad that goes to the south rim of the Grand Canyon that leaves from Williams, AZ. My husband is a model railroader and a huge rail fan so it seemed like a great way to combine seeing that part of the country and meeting a desire he had.

Seeing the Grand Canyon first hand is not like hearing about it. It’s not like seeing photos. It’s not like a 3D movie (I’ve white water rafted and helicoptered into the Grand Canyon via IMAX (and gotten nauseous!).  Even my photos (as seen here) can’t capture the magnitude. I only saw a portion of the 277 miles of canyon. It’s vast – though vast seems like a small word for it. It’s awesome – and I mean that in the genuine way the word is intended, not the way teenagers use it for describing, well, everything! I mean jaw –dropping, holy cow, grab the person you are width, eyes wide with awe, wonder, and astonishment.

It made me think that this is true of other things as well.

There is often no adequate substitute for seeing something for yourself. So hearing about a training program is not the same as going through the training program. Listening to someone describe what it’s like to be discriminated against isn’t something that is happening to you. Reading about how to manage a company is not equivalent to managing a firm with people and products and services and customers.

Often when people tell you things, they are trying to ‘sell’ you on their view of things so the word they use may be evaluative in nature rather than objective (stubborn is not a good trait but ‘having the strength of her own convictions’ is.)

The more removed we get from the first-hand experience, the more we are interpreting.  Interpretation is not an exact science. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times when that is good enough.  But there are also plenty of times when it’s not!

The challenge is that sometimes you don’t know it’s NOT good enough until you actually experience it for yourself first hand.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 at 2:48 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.