This is the great debate of the 21st century. Oh and climate change. And sexism. And nuclear power. And gender. Well, there’s quite a few large scale debates occurring in our global world right now.
It’s got me thinking. To be honest, it’s also got me frustrated and then sad.
When I finished Barack Obama’s, A Promised Land, one of the things that really stood out for me was how he had to very quickly learn to make peace with the ‘best worst decisions’. No matter which decision he made, healthcare, housing, war, economics, it would make lives better for some and not for others. The heaviness of this is not something I would ever want to lean into.
In all of these big debates that we face right now, the thing that makes me most sad is I am seeing so much angry debate. It’s becoming nasty. Which is at its most simplest; If you don’t think how I think, then F you.
When did we stop listening?
Adam Grant, author of Think Again, reminds me that when we are really close to an issue, the less able we are to ‘rethink’ about it. What he’s saying is that we become very wedded to our version, our perspective, being the only perspective. And the more educated we are, the less open we become. That’s crazy to think about, right?!
Life is grey. These conversations, these debates are full of grey. When we become black and white then we are no longer learning. We are defending.
Would it really hurt someone who has chosen to vax, to openly listen to why someone chooses not to? Without debate and having to prove your decision.
Would it really hurt someone who has chosen not to vax to hear why another has chosen to do so?
We do this at work too. When we get frustrated about an idea that is not one you agree with. Or a decision made that is ‘wrong’.
What’s ugly is our reactions, our anger, our externalised judgement. Yes, have an opinion. But are you brave enough to get more information that could lead you into a new direction? Or will that challenge your identity too much. Who knows? Only you do.
And please don’t miss the point of this. It’s not about creating more arguments, more dissent and more ‘being right’. It’s about reflecting on the role you are playing to listen and learn. Not attack and defend.