Six blind men gathered to determine what an elephant looks like.
The first approached the elephant and touched its leg. “Ah,” said he, “an elephant is like a pillar.”
The second reached out just as the elephant swished its tail. Holding the tail in his hand, he declared, “No, the elephant is like a rope.”
The third stepped forward. “I’ll settle this,” he said as his hand touched the elephant’s trunk. “Neither of you is right. Anyone can plainly tell that an elephant is like a tree branch.”
And so it went. The fourth found the elephant’s ear to be like a fan. The fifth declared the elephant like a wall, after leaning up against its belly. And the sixth, touching the tusk, knew for sure the elephant resembles a water pipe.
A wise man, who had happened by during the men’s exchange, stepped in. “You are all right. And all wrong. Each one of you has just a piece of the truth because you experienced a different part of the elephant. Combined, your individual truths will paint the true picture.”
I tell this story when I’m mediating, training or conflict coaching and someone has great clarity that they’re version of what happened is the right one, or their version of The Truth is the only one.
When I polled readers a few months ago, asking for your number one conflict frustration, more than a few answered with a version of “when someone isn’t able to see it from my point of view.” Now you have a story to tell them — and yourself.