Exposure to different thinking

I’ve been to a lot of conferences and events with speakers over the last decade. I’ve heard from academics like Rob Goffee and Herminia Ibarra, entrepreneurs like Margaret Heffernan, journalists like Matthew Syed, researchers like Dr Tesia Marshik and Barbara Oakley. I’ve been to big expo events like CogX in Kings Cross, London, and the main conferences from CIPD, LPI and Learning Technologies. I’ve been genuinely fortunate and privileged to have had exposure to such rich and varied thinking.

I also keep an active social media profile across Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as write a regular blog. This has allowed me to hear from a range of practitioners and professionals across the HR sphere and other professions such as marketing, and the creative industries. I test a lot of my own thinking in this space and although I may write things with a clear stance, that doesn’t always mean I remain thinking in such ways. I try not to write ignorantly, but completely accept I write from a position of bias.

And I engage regularly with friends and colleagues on an array of topics as well as consume all the common forms of media out there from TED talks, to podcasts and YouTube videos as well as short form content on Instagram.

What I think is important in having had such exposure is being able to hold different levels of conversation and debate, and allowing my thinking to be tested. I’ve learned over the years that holding onto certain thinking, beliefs and ideas can work against me. For example, I didn’t go to the cinema by myself believing that it’s not socially acceptable to do so, even though I enjoy watching films on my own at home. I now go regularly on my own and I have no qualms about it at all. Or in believing that talent in organisations is only held by top performers, whereas we can never really know where talent lies in an organisation unless we cultivate and allow people to step forward.

One of my key concerns over the course of the pandemic has been seeing how limited the options are for being exposed to different thinking. The way of the internet in this day and age means you have algorithms working against you. When IG or YouTube identifies you’ve watched a particular kind of content, you are likely to be served similar content over and over, regardless if you want to watch/consume more or not. And because we haven’t really been attending events of any sort due to restrictions, we’re only ever being served content we’re already attuned to. We don’t hear alternate points of view, because the opportunities have been limited, and now we’re in a protected loop that we didn’t necessarily design.

I’m not writing with an end in mind, just a set of reflections that we’ve all been restricted due to Covid regulations, and as much as there have been direct impacts to health and mental health, we have also been impacted due to less opportunities for different thinking.


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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