When Einstein’s Team Lost

Albert Einstein is frequently quoted as saying that “reality is an illusion”.

I suspect his football team had just lost, as mine did on Saturday (again). I thought we were rubbish. Fans of the opposing team apparently thought they were great!

So what’s the reality? Is one of us right and one of us wrong? Is the answer a bit of both? Or is there no such thing as reality?

Maybe this depends on where we sit.

Leaders often think they are great at communicating. Talk to their team and you might hear a different story.

“Everybody knows exactly what the decision is, and they are totally behind it”.

Oh no they aren’t. Just ask them.

So has the decision been communicated or hasn’t it? Depends where you sit. The leader asked for feedback, got none, took that as a “Yes” and sent out an email. Surely that’s enough? Well no, probably not. Maybe folks felt intimidated in the meeting so didn’t ask their questions. Maybe they needed time to think about it. Maybe they didn’t read the email (not everybody does you know!).

So we end up with dualistic thinking.

“The decision is taken and has been communicated” on the one hand.

“Oh no it hasn’t” on the other. Pantomime season.

The reality of course is a bit more nuanced. But we don’t do nuance. We prefer black and white, yes and no, referendums, that sort of thing.

And the way through all of this?

To be open to an alternative perspective. To listen. To empathise. Not to assume that my reality is your reality.

Maybe that’s what happened to poor old Einstein. He listened to so many opinions he ended up confused. Or just maybe he understood nuance. Mystery, even.

Something for me to take into 2018 then. No good writing about it if I don’t try to do it.

And if my team do happen to win this weekend (Unlikely. Ed) I’ll try to remember that there were two teams on the pitch, and we fans may have different perspectives on what just happened.