For those of us who are passionate, energetic, opinionated, motivated, or confident, it can be easy to give way to the seduction of our own guitar solo. After all, we're sure of our opinions and have worked out a great bit of logic to support what we think to be an inscrutable position. Despite our 'water tight' rationale, it's important to always be at least somewhat buffered by curious verification of our own motives or perspectives.
Am I setting up a straw man? Am I mischaracterizing? Do I have extra incentive to come out on one side of this debate? Have I rounded a corner when coming to conclusions?
Unfortunately for our ego's, perspective isn't fact.
Once we're realistic about the degree to which our beliefs or opinions aren't supported by facts, I venture to say we'll do a better job of:
- Being sure to read & research more to find the facts that support an informed stance, and
- Having the types of conversations that bridge gaps instead of dig them deeper.
If we're open to data, less sure of ourselves, and focused on our blindspots as much as the blindspots of those we converse with, perhaps we'll rebuild our ability to empathize and find more productive common ground.
Once we've told ourselves we own a monopoly on truth, the slope is already too slippery.