On openness and open minds. While you read “the facts,” who is to say that the author of the “facts” isn’t incorrect themselves given the “history is written by the victors”? (Note quote and article – via @SarahWorthy)
From “The Other Side is Not Dumb”
I implore you to seek out your opposite. When you hear someone cite “facts” that don’t support your viewpoint don’t think “that can’t be true!” Instead consider, “Hm, maybe that person is right? I should look into this.”
Because refusing to truly understand those who disagree with you is intellectual laziness and worse, is usually worse than what you’re accusing the Other Side of doing.
My take away from the article is similar to what I have always advocated (maybe it’s a meta-meta-meta loop and I’m being duped again?). Anyway, those principles in communication are:
- Be present.
- Listen first.
- Be open minded.
I believe I am qualified to speak on this subject for a few odd reasons. Like the fact that it is hard for me to be present. Being open minded is always a challenge. And listening first is also a challenge. I’m qualified to venture an opinion because I have failed so many times. Sometimes failure teaches more than success.
Then, you get older. You listen more. You respect facts but question bias in statistics. You trust your gut. Your pattern recognition carries more weight than a persuasive graphic alone.
Mostly, in my opinion you learn to listen to other people deeply. You are “present” and you “hear” them. You learn to “see” people in a different way. You aren’t present because you have to, but because you desire the wisdom they are sharing even if you don’t agree. You listen because, maybe with their input, you might come to agree and learn from them! Your passion for wisdom and knowledge outweighs the biases and prejudices we all develop.
I had a friend describe working for me (I’m paraphrasing as it has been a while.)
“It’s hard to get your attention. But when you have your attention, its 100%. It can be a bit much.”
I may have gotten the wording wrong, but it was said by one of my true friends who has been there for me for over 20 years. I respect his opinion and I used his feedback to try to tone my presence down without turning down the attention with which I listen and speak.
Changes I made? Everything from changing my attire to be more casual even in business-suit-Houston and studying my own body posture when listening. Crossing my arms and looking down was my habit when listening deeply. It turns out not everyone interprets my posture for what it was; it came across as disapproving to some when it was in fact the exact opposite. So I changed. I learned to lean against a tree and nod my head, not always in agreement, but to acknowledge what they were saying. So when I say I took my friends feedback seriously, I mean it. I even read two more books on body language.
My reward for my changes? I get to learn more from more interesting people. I LOVE THAT!
Speaking and sharing knowledge
As they say, “the thing with introverts is that it is NOT that they don’t like to talk. It’s that they like to talk about things they are interested in.”
That of course is why we must listen first and learn about things we know nothing about without interrupting people, because that curiosity might uncover something new we are interested in. It is respectful to others. And learning is a lifelong endeavor – I have no intention to stop being curious or learning from others as long as I am breathing.
Avicii’s video for Wake Me Up really captures the loss if we fail to listen to our youth in particular (more after the jump).
2016. This is a unique time in history. Seriously.
Modern knowledge in the Internet age swirls around like a whirlpool, regardless of age, gender, nationality or some certificate on your wall. Degrees in my field for example are close to irrelevant. This amazing kindling of knowledge I am seeing is practically a cauldron about to spill over for those not paying attention.
Example: you are likely to learn more from those younger than you this year than those older than you if you are over 40.
Youth of course has it’s own arrogance and may not want to learn from their elders because like EVERY generation they believe they know more. But they MUST have this arrogance or they won’t take risks, start companies, invent calculus, and push our society forward. Still, they can learn from their elders. But only, only if they respect you first. And they are the future. So yes, if you are over 40, get off your high horse and earn THEIR respect even if when we were 20 it was our job to earn the respect of 40 year olds.
I have traditionally, and will continue to respectfully, listen to my elders by being fully present. To learn from their wisdom. Yet…..
I must observe that in the last six months in particular, I have learned more from carefully listening to people sometimes much younger than me. To give them the floor and listen deeply and respectfully.
If you listen, our youth from 5 to 20 are particularly generous with their knowledge. I am so grateful to my younger friends and acquaintances who “grok” that I am interested in what they are teaching me. That I am fully present and grateful to them for sharing their knowledge with me.
This respect is the same as how appreciative I am of my 70 or 80 year old friend who share with me. Tell me stories. It’s kind of awesome. People are people, we should not underestimate them regardless of age.
The reward from these interchanges is truly priceless. Knowledge, respect, love, a human connection. Pay it forward in a time when knowledge is flying back and forth between all generations and cultures. It’s an exciting (and stressful) time to live. But definitely not boring, my friends!
For the curious ones out there, now is the time. Shut up and dance. Listen first. Be present. Be open minded.
Stories are the best way to share knowledge. Tell yours to those who are intently interested. And be interested in others and ask them to tell you their story. It’s a start. For example I know Alie will teach me to fire dance.
Fire dancing is something I will not do. But if asked, there is a possibility of zero that Alie would not share this knowledge with me. It is knowledge one question away from me. What a cool world we live in!
Instead, I choose to photograph my friends, be present, listen to them, and learn what I can while wishing they would keep the fire farther away from me. (Even if my mantra is to move fast and break things.)
PS – Day job stuff. As the founder of Tendenci – The Open Source Membership Management Software project, these topics in sociology do apply very much to our vision. Systems of interaction can change behaviors (do you “like” or not click “like” on FB when a couple breaks up. It’s a serious question. Thus I value your feedback to make https://github.com/tendenci/tendneci/ even better for the open source community.)