“A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying: ‘SITUATION HOPELESS STOP NO ONE WEARS SHOES.’ The other writes back triumphantly, ‘GLORIOUS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY STOP THEY HAVE NO SHOES’” (excerpted from The Art of Possibility by Zander & Zander).
The Zanders go so far as to suggest that Truth is not objective – everything in life is simply a story we tell. Incidentally, the Zanders are not alone in this line of thinking. As far back as the 18th century, philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that human beings will never have access to access an unfiltered, objective reality. And, as I’ve written about before, the very foundation of the Abraham-Hicks material rests on the idea that your reality is nothing more than “a response to the thoughts you think and the story you tell about your life.”
Stop and think about that for a moment… a) all of our experiences are subjective, invented even, and b) our version of reality rests solely on our (uniquely personal) interpretations of those experiences. This concept has enormous implications for the way we approach relationships and manage conflict!
As we navigate our world, information is taken in through our senses, processed by our brain, and then interpreted. This interpretation serves as our “story,” which eventually morphs into an entire belief system. Naturally, things like previous experiences, culture, and learning influence the stories we create. The Zanders assert, however, that there is an even more fundamental aspect to this process:
“No matter how objective we try to be, it is still through the structure of the brain that we perceive the world. So, if there are absolutes, we have no direct access to their existence. The mind constructs. The meanings our minds construct may be widely shared and sustaining for us, but they may have little to do with the world itself. Furthermore, how would we know?”
Wow! Imagine a world without absolutes. No longer can we claim, with certainty, that WE are right and THEY are wrong (although, as I proposed in an earlier blog, there is no they…only US). When we operate from the assumption that those with whom we disagree also have a valid point-of-view, a perspective that is as “right” as our own, it gives us the freedom to take off our boxing gloves (or our halo). At the very least, we can agree to disagree. At best, we can genuinely appreciate and respect the perspectives of others, knowing that it’s all made up anyway!
Not only does this theory change the way we interact with others, it also allows us to create (or recreate) our own reality – all we have to do is tell a different story! Dr. Wayne Dyer famously quipped, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” And, as I wrote about here, the teachings of Abraham-Hicks suggest that our future is being shaped by today’s thoughts.
The best part is that we can start right now by retelling our own reality-story, one that isn’t defined or limited by the interpretation of society/parents/religious leaders. We can think, and therefore create, our heart’s desire, no matter what (subjective) information we “think” we perceive through our five senses. In other words, we can choose to view the glass as half-full.
And, we can get excited about selling a lot of shoes in Africa!