Many people hold strong opinions on certain matters and come hell or high water, they will often not even consider looking at the other side of whatever the issue is or allow themselves to see it from another person’s viewpoint.
I am not one of those people.
I’m curious and I find people interesting and fascinating, which means I love hearing other people’s viewpoints, whether they agree with mine or not. I like to find out what makes them tick and what causes them to do what they do.
Since numerous factors in the course of my life have given me the viewpoints that I have and/or cause me to act in certain ways, wouldn’t the same hold true for others?
So I like seeing both sides of an issue, a story, of everything.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have any strong viewpoints, I do… but it means that I understand others also have strong viewpoints and I like finding out why. And more times than not, I learn something by being willing to see the other side of the coin.
One of my Monday morning highlights is reading the Monday Morning Memo. It’s an email newsletter from Roy Williams, a brilliant, quirky, risk taking outside-the-box thinker.
There’s the normal newsletter and there’s the rabbit hole. Clicking on a picture in the newsletter takes you down a rabbit hole to various other pages in the newsletter, which contain anything from short stories to movie clips to pointless banter and so much more.
This morning’s newsletter was titled Wise Men and Fools. The first line was:
A wise man sees both sides of a matter.
The fool sees only one. - Wizzo
Of course I found the topic interesting. Then deep in the rabbit hole, I found this essay by Roy Williams himself.
The Stadium of Life
Your position of your seat in the stadium of life determines how you see the game. What is your angle of view?
You can sit on either side – religious or secular.
You can sit at either end – liberal or conservative.
You can sit high and see the big picture.
You can sit low and see granular detail.
Regardless of the clarity your chosen seat provides,
you can be sure that people in other seats are seeing a very different game. Does their seat make them foolish, dishonest and evil? Commentators would have you think so.
There are fools in the world, to be sure.
Dishonesty is rampant, and evil certainly exists. But these are found in equal measure throughout every section of the stadium.
We’re not talking about malefactors today.
We’re talking about the wondrous benefits of curiosity.
Stand up. Wander around the stadium. Meet the people sitting across from you. Climb higher and see the whole field in a single frame. Step down to field level and experience the myopic, “insider’s view” those seats alone can provide.
Wandering around the stadium – looking at the game from various perspectives – is called “thinking outside the box.”
It’s a wise-ard’s (wise person’s) adventure, but few people have the courage to stray more than a few, hesitant steps away from their own, familiar perspective, comfortable with the “truth” they already own.
Indiana Beagle (aka Roy Williams)
Are you curious about what makes others tick? About why they think as they do? If so, good for you. Never lose that curiosity.
If you aren’t normally curious or if you prefer to share your viewpoint rather than listen to someone else’s, try something new today. Ask someone why they view a certain issue the way they do and then listen, really listen, without any plans on telling them whether you think their viewpoint is right, wrong or where it should be changed, tweaked, etc.
Listen and think… you might be surprised what you learn.