Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

If you'd like to get more ideas like these sent to you each day, it's easy: sign up here.


Hearing the Difference

In our world where smart and growing media outlets are those that cater to a niche audience, it's increasingly easy to find viewpoints we agree with. Never again do we need to listen to someone we don't like or who doesn't fit into our existing world view just to get information about something. If I don't like you, care for your values, or already line up with what you believe, no worries. I can find someone to tell me what you're telling me who sees things my way. Of course, lost in this homogeneity is the idea of compromise, community, diversity, and progress. If we only want to see things our way for the rest of our lives, then we can forget about changing. Or growing.

I think you should listen to, read, or watch something each day that you (think you) disagree with.

Spending sacred time to hear someone out - without simultaneously thinking about what you're going to say back to prove your point - can be both uncomfortable and beneficial. Most of the conclusions we come to we view as meaningless unless we got there with some struggle. The harder we wrestled with a topic the more satisfied we are once we have made up our mind.

Flip on Fox News (but not for long). Watch MSNBC (for a little while). Listen to an evangelical sermon or a charismatic one or one by an open theist. Read something different or that you normally wouldn't.

If you'd like a place to start, listen to my friend Alan Sherouse, pastor at a Baptist church in New York City. It doesn't matter if you're religious or not - just hear him out.

The trick, of course, isn't to always be right. Your job isn't to find the right answer and then stick to it the rest of your life. The task is to embrace the harmony that can come when our different solos are blended together. Once you listen to someone else, you don't then immediately retreat back to your position of right-ness. Sit there, in the in-between, where you're not sure what you believe. Let confusion linger. Be happy with not knowing, with being unsure, undecided, and uncertain.

You won't grow until you stretch.

Photo credit