The Power of Outward Thinking: How to See People as People

The Power of Outward Thinking: How to See People as People

“So while it’s true that behavior drives results, it’s also true that mindset drives behavior.”  – The Arbinger Institute, The Outward Mindset: How to Change Lives and Transform Organizations

The Golden Rule, which is treating others the way we want to be treated, is a common concept that many of us have heard since childhood. But is that really the best approach to interacting with those around us? 

I might suggest that perhaps there is an even better way to operate. It has to do with a specific mindset regarding how we see and deal with other people.

In particular, the inward and outward mindset, characterized by the Arbinger Institute, is one mindset that can shape our perspectives, and has the ability to transform our ways of working with others.

Inward vs Outward Mindset

When we have an Inward Mindset, we tend to be self-focused and view others as objects, which can include seeing them as obstacles or vehicles. We may use others to achieve our goals, or we may not help others even if we feel we should, because we don’t believe they are worthy or don’t see them as people who matter to us. 

One metaphor to characterize the Inward Mindset is being “in a box” where we are only concerned with ourselves and cannot see others outside. It’s all about us.

In contrast, having an Outward Mindset means focusing on the team and seeing others as people that matter like we matter. This enables us to recognize that we are all equal and to take actions that help others be successful. 

A more advanced form of the Golden Rule, known as the Platinum Rule, suggests that we should treat others the way they want to be treated by considering their needs, challenges, and what they care about (not the way we want to be treated, because everyone is different).

Shifting to an Outward Mindset

To shift from an Inward to an Outward Mindset, you can start by assessing your views of others and reflecting on your priorities. Some questions you can ask include: 

  • Do I view others as objects or people who matter? 
  • Are my goals more important than helping others?
  • Do I believe others are doing the best they can, and can I give them the benefit of the doubt? 
  • Do I genuinely care about others and show it through my actions?

Additionally, you can identify people who make you feel your best and analyze what they do to show that they care about you. You can then make changes in your behavior to be more like them and cultivate an Outward Mindset. This shift in mindset can be life-changing and beneficial for both you and those around you.

If you need help developing an Outward Mindset to reach your goals, please reach out, and let’s connect!

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