There’s this parable about four blind men who visited a zoo. They went to a few different enclosures and would interact with the animals and describe them to each other as a shared experience. When they meet the elephant, an argument broke out.
The first man had felt the elephant’s ears and said the animal had wings. The second man felt the trunk and said it was like a giant snake. The third man felt the legs and said that it wasn’t even an animal – it was some kind of tree. The fourth man felt the tail and said it was extremely flexible, like a rope.
These men had formed a picture that didn’t come close to the truth because they had such a limited perspective. But when they shared their thoughts with each other, they’d come a lot closer than if they’d tried only on their own experience.
It’s all about Relationships
In business and in life, we almost never have the whole picture and are often blind to what is going on. We can establish our own understanding and we keep things moving, but we are always going to be limited by our own perspective.
This is why communication and community are so vitally important to success. In fact, some of the wealthiest people I’ve met have commented that the greatest riches in their lives are their relationships.
It can be difficult to find people you can talk with openly as well. People in your industry are likely competitors, and people outside your industry won’t really “get it”. But that really depends on what you’re trying to gain from the relationship.
The blind men were able to create an image that described their experience because they came at it from different angles. If they’d had one more person along, they may have identified the size of the elephant by interacting with its body.
Of course, in real life, a person would just move around and get a picture of themselves – but we’re not trying to see an elephant either. We want to identify risks and opportunities. We want to develop strategies and plans. We want to build a successful business that creates real value for our family and for the community. So it only makes sense for us to work together. And it only makes sense for us to find people that are very different to ourselves.
In different industries, different stages of life, different backgrounds, and different experiences. But we also need to make sure we’re heading in the same direction, looking at the same things. We need to be aligned with values and on our purpose.
Start Your Mastermind Today
Wherever you’re at in your life, I encourage you to seek out different perspectives regularly. You’re going to find value for yourself, and you’ll be able to provide value for others because relationships build trust and collaboration give you a wider network.
This article is a guest post from Levi Sanders You can find out more about Levi and his work at Strategic Ventures.