There is an old parable about 6 blind men going to see an elephant so each can determine for themselves what the animal is. Each one happens upon a different part of the beast: the tail, the ear, the leg, the trunk and so on. Because they cannot see the entire elephant, each draws specific conclusions about the animal based solely on the one part they happen to physically grasp. In other words, they only see part of the total picture giving them an imprecise and incomplete impression.
How often do we do the same thing when we hear only one side of an issue or draw a conclusion based on limited or biased information? I experienced this recently when encountering two different women in different situations who each had very strong negative feelings about Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. As I engaged in discussion and debate with each on the topic presenting my own positive views, I discovered that neither one of them had actually read the book. They were basing their reactions and conclusions on what they “heard” from others or in the media which represented only snippets of what was covered in the book. I suggested to each that they read the book for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
All this reminds us to be sure and look at the totality of an issue before forming an opinion. You can segment any of the pieces of a greater whole and get a very different view of it than you would have if you could see “the whole elephant.” Open your eyes, your ears, and your mind to the bigger picture.
©Donna Cardillo. All rights reserved.