How To Understand The Inner World of Others

Take a look at this picture. What animal do you see? I’ll wait while you check it out.

Do you see a rabbit or a duck? For some of us, we will see the rabbit, whereas for others, they may see the duck.

When I first showed this to my four year-old, he saw the duck. As for my wife, she saw the rabbit. After a while, she managed to see the duck. The interesting thing was that she had to convince my son that the picture could in fact be both a duck, as well as a rabbit.

This illustrates the point that what we see and how we interpret it could be very different from how another person interprets it.

A model to better understand people

To better understand how other people (spouse, children, customers, audience) view the world, I turn to the Butterfly Model. The reasons it is called the Butterfly model are:

  • Because it is shaped like one If you look at the two ovals, these look like the wings of a butterfly
  • Symbolizes transformation: There is always the possibility for us to transform ourselves into something better, something more beautiful, as the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.

Understanding the internal system

As I seek to better understand the audience that I am reaching, I am guided by this model to look beyond the face-to-face interactions. At the face-to-face interactions, this is where it is most visible.

This is what you can see. However, there’s more to it.

For instance, I used to love trying out new applications and even spend time, energy, and money learning how to use it more effectively.

Case in point, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time learning how to master Evernote and even spend time organizing and re-organizing my workflow just so that I can use this piece of app.

However, now my worldview has changed. I no longer spend time doing that. In fact, I see that as a waste of time, energy, and money trying to learn how to use a new app. These days, I look at my needs and search for tools that require very little, if at all, time and effort to get it started.

On the surface, it may seem like I have lost my patience in learning new things. When applying the Butterfly Model, it then allows me to better understand my beliefs about things. In the past, my belief system told me that if I am at the forefront of technology, then it would mean that I am a cool guy.

But now, my belief system tells me that if I spend time learning a new piece of tool (which could become obsolete very quickly), then it would mean I am not effectively using my time.

As a result of that belief, it then resulted in my ‘most visible’ actions – to derive maximum value from the investment of my time.

The video to explain the model

Watch the video here as I explain the Butterfly Model.