When confronted with a difficult person, or when experiencing an interpersonal disconnect, one of my former bosses would often utter a Franklin Covey mantra, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." Oh, how on-target this phrase is! We are often quick to judge the book by its cover without ever bothering read the many words printed within it.
Lately, my photography has focused primarily on fitness athletes, and many of those have been bodybuilders. These athletes, like other groups of people, are often stereotyped, both positively and negatively. Is he humble and kind, or is he vain and a jerk? Does he have superman genetics with muscles that grow even when he only thinks about weights, or has he worked like a maniac to get his amazing physique?
The funny thing about stereotypes is that they are usually wrong. One shoe does not fit all. We're all created differently. We've all experienced different challenges, joys, and tragedies in life. Our experiences make us complex, wonderful, and unique beings. I can say that I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the athletes I've worked with--each and every unique one of them.
Stereotyping is an easy habit to fall into, but it's a lazy and inaccurate way of viewing the world. It is worth the time to slow down and get to know others--even to walk a few steps in their shoes. You will find yourself blessed as a result, and you might also become a blessing.
Kristoffer Cox Photography: Artisan Portraits and Conceptual Images