I just came upon this speech by Sheena Iyengar. She was speaking at a TED conference on the art of choosing. It’s twenty-four minutes, and it’s twenty-four minutes worth watching.
What I found most amazing is the revelations she offered about how we all get so easily, and unknowingly, stuck in our own perceptions of the world. She speaks of choice, and the different relationships with choice that we all have – largely because of how we were raised or where we were raised. Americans, of course, like choice, respond well to choice, and choose choice. Burger King tells us to “Have it your way.” Starbucks tell us that “Happiness is in our choices.” Which is all fine. However, Sheena points out, that we, as Americans, tend to believe that our approach to choice is the best, the one that fulfills the innate desires of all humans. But, what she has shown through her research, and shares during her brief speech, is that we base these beliefs on assumptions that simply do not hold true in other cultures. Other cultures, other people, see choice differently. People from some cultures respond better to having fewer choices. People from other cultures are more comfortable and perform better when a choice is made for them. And they too think that their view is best. That their choice is right.
Everything that opens my mind to how I can be more open to the minds of others…I choose that!