Embracing Opposition

I remember somebody telling me “when two people are of the identical opinion, one person is redundant.” It got me thinking of the value of differing opinions. There is huge value in a company having diverse perspectives with their people, just like a basketball or football team has diverse skillets for different positions.

Whenever I come in contact with someone who sees things differently, here are a few things to keep in mind, to make the most of the opportunity:

  • Don’t pre-judge– This can be difficult, especially since you may have already made your mind up about something. Instead, just step back, and act as if you’re starting with a clean slate
  • Ask why– Find out why the person believes what they believe. Try to dig a bit deeper, to see if there is a common ground wherein you get a better understanding of why they believe what they believe
  • “Solamente diferente”– When I spent time in South America, there was a certain amount of culture shock. They did things differently, ate differently, and spoke differently. My mantra became “solamente different” (only different), meaning that it wasn’t right or wrong, good or bad, it was just different. When we stop labeling things, we learn to appreciate them.
  • Just listen– don’t try to convince them of your way of thinking. Have them try to convince you to their way of thinking. It will either strengthen your own belief, or help you realize if your belief no longer suits you.

Encountering opportunities to learn, grow, and expand your awareness of things many times comes from those who see things differently. Learn to embrace these opportunities. Who knows, you may even end up with a friend, just because you listened!