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Perspective Taking

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
1 min read
Perspective Taking

via The Great Mental Models Vol. 2:

Perspective-taking in psychology refers to the ability to perceive a situation from an alternative point of view.

You might be thinking.

“That doesn’t sound difficult at all.”

And that might be true.

Except it isn’t.

Two types of perspectives

According to the chapter on Relativity in the book, there are two types of perspectives:

  • Physical perspective
  • Conceptual perspective

Physical perspective is something we might all be familiar with.

Here’s an example from the book:

While Bob and Alice both witnessed the same event, where they were standing would result in a different physical perspective.

Which is why you’d also see, in the movies, lawyers battering the other party’s eye witnesses.

Conceptual perspective is what most people are not aware of

For instance, I get this feedback from a viewer on my LinkedIn Live broadcast:

“What you are saying on your show is what I can find on the Internet.”

The viewer thinks her statement is legitimate from her conceptual perspective. However, it is fundamentally flawed.

Four stages of competence

There are four stages of competence.

Of these four stages, the most dangerous stage is Unconscious incompetence.

The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit.

Thinking that you know everything or what you think you know is the absolute truth is the danger.

The antidote to unconscious incompetence is recognizing that there are very few absolute truths in life.

Having that awareness allows us to embrace humility.

Remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates:

I know that I know nothing

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.