Episode 32: The Whys Man

I watched a TED Talk this morning, given by a fellow who has himself a YouTube channel. He goes by the name of Michael. You might have heard of him? Or perhaps his channel, VSauce? An interesting fellow, and one who’s always curious. A valuable trait.

But I started thinking about what he said in his TED Talk. About people always being willing to learn if you relate it back to them somehow. And I realized he’s right. But if I’m allowed to explore his own concept a little deeper (I’m sure that’s what he was hoping would happen), why are we more interested then? Why not be curious about things that don’t relate to our own lives? I have no science to back me up, only personal experience and my own perspective. This isn’t a science blog (although maybe it should be considering how popular those are these days). It’s an opinion piece. An editorial. A look into my own twisted psyche, and hopefully something of a life guide at times.

So what do we see from my perspective? We see that on an individual level, we’re all the centres of our own universes. This isn’t to say that we’re all egotistical and over-inflate our own sense of selves. But rather we simply can’t see things from any perspective other than our own. We can try to approximate someone else’s perspective if we know them well enough, but it will never be truly another perspective, because ours will always colour it. As such, we only see things as they relate to ourselves. If it happens half a world away, it’s not truly going to matter to us, nor will we seek the information out, unless it involves us on a personal level.

Let’s take an example. A natural disaster like an earthquake. Unless you had family affected by it, or else you’re the sort of person who always feels the need to get involved in disaster cleanup or donations, then you might not have even heard that the event occurred, and would likely live your life just as you had before.

So how do we get people interested in something? Show them they have a personal stake in it. Show them that there’s something to be gained from it. You’ll have their attention and might even further your own goals.

That’s it. If you want more, go watch the video yourself and explore your horizons.

Oh, and Michael, if you happen to be reading this, then… As always, thanks for teaching.

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