July 8, 2023 • 5 min


The lens through which your brain sees the world shapes your reality.

This statement is from Julien Bourrelle's TED Talk about how culture influences our perception of the world. While his talk primarily focuses on perceptions of other cultures and diversity, I want to extend his approach to a smaller scale.

Imagine that your brain uses glasses to perceive the world. The glasses represent the biases we carry, while the frame symbolizes the environment that supports and shapes these biases.

Sometimes I wonder how the existence of numerous invisible glasses unconsciously influence our perspective. These glasses essentially dictate our thoughts and decision-making processes, acting as unrecognized biases. All of them are derived from our environment, which supports and stimulates their existence.

Standard glasses

There are numerous factors that shape us from birth: our family, friends, education, teachers, religion, city, and even our family's financial situation. All of these variables profoundly influence every aspect of our being, including our goals, dreams, thought processes, and personality. However, these influences are not always clear.

The environment significantly influences every aspect of our lives.

In my opinion, people often underestimate the impact of their environment. So they never think about the possibility of changing aspects of these environments. Most individuals live without ever realizing the extent of their influences, genuinely believing that their beliefs are entirely their own. Their never think about permanently changing the frame of their glasses, because that would cause discomfort.

If you don't ever try to change your frame, you'll be conditioned to live under the same influences.

The problem with this situation is that it can impose limitations in various ways. Perhaps you dream too small because your parents or friends doubt your ability to achieve something extraordinary. Maybe you align with a particular political stance because the majority of the people around you share the same view. You might never fulfill your full professional potential because your teachers urged you to pursue a more stable career that has a higher status inside your bubble. You might miss out on attending the best school in your area due to financial constraints within your family. And the list goes on...

The solution is to expose yourself to different perspectives. Embrace diversity. Embrace plurality. Test new possibilities.

You need to change your environment to explore new viewpoints and grow. In other words, in order to change your glasses, you must also change the frame.

Changing glasses

There are a lot of stuff you can try to change your glasses, but they all require one thing: actively seeking different viewpoints.

Consider the following ideas:

  • engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • travel and immerse yourself in different environments;
  • consume media, such as books, documentaries, and diverse content from people you know nothing about.

Embrace discomfort. These new situations may feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable, indicating that you're exploring an environment outside your comfort zone. This is when you're trying on new glasses. If you don't like the frame or how they make you see the world, just go back to the old one. At least, you learned about another perspective that you didn’t know about and now know that you don't like it.

My experience

I was born in Ponta Grossa, a medium-sized Brazilian city where my family currently resides. However, during my last year of high school, I made the decision to move to Curitiba, the state capital, for college.

That decision turned out to be the best one I've ever made.

Words cannot fully express how much I have grown simply by changing my environment completely. Moving to a different city exposed me to a world I likely would never have discovered if I had spent my entire life in Ponta Grossa. I like to compare this experience to unlocking new worlds in a video game. By moving to Curitiba, my character unlocked an entirely new area to explore and learn from.

This new world gave me fresh glasses through which I could gain new perspectives on subjects I believed I already understood. I discovered that many of my beliefs were open to questioning when I looked at them from different points of view, provided by these new glasses.

Sometimes, I find myself wondering: if unlocking just one new world caused such growth, what would happen if I unlocked new worlds more often? 🤔

These changes transformed the way I think. Nowadays, I question everything and take nothing for granted. I recognize that nothing is entirely black or white, everything is part of a spectrum. (someone said this on a Lex's podcast episode, but I couldn't find the exact reference, sorry)

That's the magic.

Realize that you can never know anything for sure, and your perceptions, thoughts, and opinions are heavily influenced by the glasses you wear. Understand that someone with different glasses may perceive things differently and you're both right. Recognize that by wearing different glasses, you might adopt the same perspective as someone who already wears them. Embrace the idea that wearing different glasses is what leads to personal growth.