A great question to learn more information, inspire, empower, use critical thinking skills, identify opportunities, challenge status quo, (What’s the difference?). Recently, I was reminded of an experience from freshman year in college. I had walked into my Sociology 101 lecture room. My professor, Dr. Virgilio Zanin, who spoke with a wonderful Italian accent, which made me pay attention more to his spoken word. He asked a question to jump-start a discussion. The question was; what is the difference between Algebra 101 taught at Harvard and Algebra 101 taught at this college (U-Mass, Dartmouth)? Many students commented how a person would be better off to learn Algebra 101 from Harvard because of the prestige. A few students and I believed that it definitely would cost more to learn Algebra from Harvard. Some students felt that the quality of Algebra being taught would be better at Harvard because, Harvard attracts better professors who get paid more, implying that a better paid professor teaches better.
The professor then asked us why we picked the college we were attending? Almost all boiled down a financial choice. Some students remarked that they weren’t smart enough to get into Harvard.
The professor noted that Algebra 101 was the same subject, no matter where it was taught. The professor wanted us to observe, use critical thinking skills and question how we make assumptions, judgments, form our belief systems and values based upon our perceptions even if our perceptions are incorrect or misunderstood.
In this day of “keeping up with the Jones” and constant “one-up-man ship”, the question is very relevant. What’s the difference? Does it really matter where I was taught Sociology or Statistics, or Algebra? Have we become such an EXCLUSIVE society that we can no longer communicate and build a relationship with another person unless we went to the same high school or college, work in the same industry, “likes” the same people we do on Facebook or has a profile that aligns with our profile? We are so “pixilated” on labels and status symbols to build a false sense of who we are and who we expect the other person to be. It is so habitual and common-place to label and judge another person for whatever reason; most people are probably not aware how often we each set ourselves apart from another person.
Challenge yourself to continue asking what’s the difference? Get to know people for their character and value that they bring to the world. You will discover that every person is unique and every person strives for the same things in life; peace, love and happiness.