Thursday, 31 August 2017

Having Compassion - The Autobahn Metaphor

At the XTC meeting on Tuesday 23rd August I had the pleasure of meeting Sven! He shared with me a way of relating to other people’s world view and actions which centred around “how fast do you drive on the Autobahn?”.

The autobahn is the German motorway - famous for having no speed limit. 

On the Autobahn<link> there is no speed limit, a driver can as fast as they like. Say we are driving at 80mph, we could then say that we perceive:
  • 80mph is the CORRECT speed!
  • The drivers going 50mph are delaying me and it is a nuisance overtaking them.
  • The drivers going 180mph are dangerous and are risking crashing into me.

This leads to an interest situation where you can bisect the population of drivers as “agreeing” with your world view and those that are “detrimental” to you. Naturally this leads you somewhat into conflict… it would be GREAT if everyone just drove at YOUR speed right?!

How do we overcome this and actually relate to all the other drivers on the road then?

Well first we should be introspective and ask: WHY did I select 80mph as the ‘proper’ speed?

My reasoning may have been:
  • I need to reach my destination by 9.30AM
  • I’ve got many years of experience driving and I feel I can handle the car fine at 80mph 
  • My car is actually actually only capable of doing 120mph MAX.

These reasons can lead to a perfectly valid conclusion of driving at 80mph. So what happens if we try to think about the reasons why the other drivers are travelling at the speeds they choose?
  • Could the fast driver be rushing to the hospital?
  • Could the slow driver be inexperienced in driving?

What’s even more interesting is if we try to put ourselves into the situation of other drivers. Say we were to be driving that fancy Porshe that the 180mph driver was driving, what would happen? Maybe it is a case that the car is perfectly capable of going that fast and it’s actually HARDER to drive slowly in that car… If we were to jump behind the wheel of that car then perhaps we would very quickly find ourselves driving at 180mph as well.

Naturally this is a simple metaphor and the only dimension we are considering is raw speed. This analogy does extend to other circumstances where you may want to bridge the gap between someone else’s view and your own. If someone disagrees with you and they are metaphorically travelling at a different speed then there is an opportunity for learning. Can you find out about their reasoning for “their speed” and can you share your own reasoning for “your speed”?

Note that you may still agree to disagree, both of you continuing to travel as you wish. Nevertheless we have at least related to each other :)

Looking forward to the next XTC!

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