The Importance of Thinking Different

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For as similar as we are, it’s amazing how differently our minds work. It’s almost humorous how we can naturally shape diverse perspectives on the same subject when provided identical information. These small differences in interpretative styles often leave us in amazement of one another. However, we also allow these differences to create division between us when we refuse to acknowledge our chemistry different patterns of thinking and comprehension. Sometimes we even let these differences consume our view of each other enough to create disdain or resentment. We forget to celebrate the importance of contrast in our collective view of things.

While Personality defines individual differences in patterns of acting and behaving—Processing refers to how people take in information and make sense of the world. The concepts within processing are most easily understood as variations in cognitive styles and communication approaches. Prism’s Processing module is a map of these different patterns and is used for decoding individual preferences and styles.

For instance, some people may be strongly drawn to the facts and tangible data that tell a story. They easily understand how each part fits together and the importance of accuracy throughout the information. They are defined by Concreteness and Logic. Inversely, others might listen intently to hear what lies beneath the surface. They imagine the possibilities beyond the facts and focus on an intuitive sense of what works and how it will affect others. They are defined by Intuition and Emotion. Another example, some people are quite expressive communicators when they work through their understanding of something. In turn, others remain quiet and reserved working the information over and over in their head until they’ve reached full comprehension. One is External, the other Internal.

These differences in styles and approaches come in many varieties and combinations across four scales. At their core, they are just preferences for how people gain energy, interpret information, reach judgment and react accordingly to the world around them. This week, take a study of how your own cognitive and communicative style is wired. Explore your Processing module and consider how the way you communicate about your experiences shapes the perspective others can take of you. And how your style might influence your perspective of others.

“We don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people.”

― Steve Goodier

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