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To Agree or Not To Agree? That is the Question


Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

Recently the world has been experiencing tumultuous times. Political instability has given rise to unimaginable conditions creating refugee crises, food shortages, religious persecution, and many more polarizing situations. The conflicts are not merely confined between two combatant nations but there seems to be an unprecedented level of discord amongst many country’s civilians.

The rapid rate at which it appears to be growing could also lead to speculation of a worldwide cataclysmic event creating an illusion that makes any remedy seem meaningless. However, there is a solution to every problem and this one is no exception. It is not a simple task. The amount of effort and struggle will not doubt be immense however, when it’s properly applied, it will give renewed meaning AND put the word “civil” back into “civilian.

We can all agree that there is a problem, that is blatantly obvious. But what we seemingly cannot  agree upon is the solution. Searching for an answer upon which we can all agree will also be futile.

So where does the answer lie? It is in the manner upon which we confront our disagreements. We must listen to those in opposition in order to ultimately find a solution Not listening but rather digging in our heels only widens the gap and heightens  tensions. It is simple to listen to those with whom we agree and at times it is important to receive validations which support our beliefs. But this type of dialog doesn’t teach us anything new. Expanding beyond what we know often comes from listening to opposing points of view. However, this is extremely difficult to accomplish because it completely disrupts our comfort zone.

Since the U.S. election, I’ve listened to several news reports which were contrary to my views. Although it increased my heartbeat and blood pressure, despite the discomfort I continued to listen. Forcing myself even while at the same time shouting disapproval, I was able to gain some understanding on that point of view. It may have never changed my outlook but it did provide some meaningful insight.

Disagreements are inevitable and part of the human condition. Focusing on how to manage these differences is the art of human relationship. It’s not about dismissing those with whom you disagree. Belittling others to minimize their opinion is not the mark of good leadership. Surrounding yourself only with those who will humbly obey and praise your efforts is nothing more than an outright attempt at demagoguery. No doubt loyalty is important but abusing others for the sake of an unbridled ego will ultimately create a larger disparity from what it intended to fix.

Issues are complex and I don’t mean to imply that a simple handshake and a smile will solve the world’s problems. This approach is not a normal human reaction. It takes practice to listen and pay attention to someone with whom you disagree but it is the best way to find a peaceful and successful resolution.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks again to E. Rachel Thompson for the amazing photograph. Find out more about her on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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