Let's Grow Together

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by David N Johnson

July 22, 2019

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Consider the thinking BEHIND the difference in thought before passing judgment. In this case, judgment means deciding if what they are saying has any merit or not.

In politics, religion, parenting, business, and just about anything else where there are differing views, we get so tied up in our side of things that we allow our moral intuitions (which are mostly automatic and come in an instant) to overshadow or even altogether ignore our moral reasonings. However, if we take the time to understand where the other person is coming from and allow trust to form (unless they are purposefully being manipulative or are attempting to harm you), then you open up yourself to the idea of being converted.

To be open to the idea of being converted to another person’s way of thinking, you become better at harnessing the power of your moral reasoning. In other words, you create more space between the stimulus and your response.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

-Viktor E. Frankl

In his life-changing book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Frankl speaks of the importance of that space between stimulus and response. It’s in that very space that you allow your moral reasoning to take over for your moral intuitions. That’s not to say that when you apply reason to your intuition that it will crumble. All I’m saying is that you should work to create the space needed for growth. Sometimes, growth comes from allowing another person to change your mind.

It’s been said that a mark of intelligence is being able to entertain an idea without accepting it as you own. That’s what I’m trying to get at. If somebody is passionate about their point of view, and they aren’t looking to manipulate or harm you in any way, then you owe it to yourself to understand why they are so passionate about their differing point of view. By being open to the idea of being converted to the “other side, ” so to speak, you preserve your humanity (and theirs) and allow progress to hasten her step.

I’ve written about groupthink in the past and how dangerous it can be when that think prevents you from thinking independently. Many times we bind ourselves so firmly to a particular ideal that we blind ourselves so entirely that we can’t accept anything that differs from that point of view. That’s the complete opposite of progress. One can argue that progress happens when a group of people, all thinking the same thing, works together to make life better for all. But, I’d argue back and say, “how do you know that’s the best way forward when you haven’t given differing points the moral reasoning it deserves?”

If we’re so fully bound to the group that we can’t accept another point of view, or at least think on it, then we become blind and dismiss potentially life-altering counter ideas just because they look different.

I’m not telling you HOW to think. I’m just asking that you give thought (and thus value) to the motivations BEHIND the idea that runs counter to what you believe. Growth for you, for your family, and our society, happens in that space between stimulus and response. How you use that space will set you free. Free from the anchor of the group. Free to see things as they truly are. Free to grow in the direction YOU chose.

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David N Johnson

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David N Johnson

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