“And you see the mountains, reckoned them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds.” QS An-Naml :88.
Mohamad Cholid, Practicing Certified Executive and Leadership Coach
Perspective matters. The above quotation from the Quran serves as a reminder of the limitations in our understanding of the world.
Not just Islam, other religions have also taught us the imperfection of the human perspective. Humankind is, after all, God’s unfinished project, as mentioned by Jim Rohn, a known business philosopher, who inspired top coaches such as Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Darren Hardy and Brad Sugar.
Because of that, we need to work on the rest (by) ourselves. Building bridges, managing the economy, creating transportations system, constructing places of worship and hospitals, improving ourselves as a person, and so on.
Those with a positive perspective will interpret the above quotation as an indication that God is democratic. He gives human beings the ability to make choices in acting as “co-creators” in this world and in improving upon themselves, thinking creatively, and being open in seeking new perspectives.
Within those limitations, humankind faces one big challenge, which is the tendency to let themselves become captives in their own mind and fall prey to limiting beliefs, imagined barriers that are shaped by their personal biases. They would then use this as their basis of perspective in their effort to understand the world.
The symptom of minds trapped by ideologies, political practices, and personal biases can now also be found among supposed intellectual groups, heads of organizations (business and social), as well as public figures. It calls to mind the image drawn by The Captive Mind, a book of essays by Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz (1911 – 2004), about the groups of Central and Eastern European intellectual elites which were dominated by discourses of communism and Stalinism after the World War II.
What would become of human beings, with our limited perspectives — only able to “see the mountains, reckoned them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds” — if we were to let ourselves get trapped within our limiting beliefs or captive mind?
The most likely possibility is we would become prisoners to our assumptions. These symptoms can be found among leaders in organization, in business environments and non-profit institutions, or within government agencies. We can see that they have been using their authority to reject new ideas that do not align with their ego.
New perspectives turn them into frightening shadows.
They make decisions based on their own closed-off mind. New alternatives or perspectives that could raise the quality of work within the institution would often be seen as a threat to stability — they worry because they are too scared to look at the reality of today.
We may agree that such behavior goes against the will of the Creator, who has given us the freedom to find new ways and better perspectives in interacting with life’s dynamics.