There is certainly no shortage of them in the world, and now more than ever they are very divided. Whether the discussion is politics, social justice, or something else, it feels like a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ proposition. My opinion should be yours – end of discussion.
Of course, that’s not a productive mindset. Differing opinions are about listening and questioning.
“What do I think about that?”
“How does that fit for me?”
Considering an opinion as an offering rather than a wholesale ‘my way of the highway’ can shift how an opinion is received. And, if you want to have a meaningful discussion, you need to do some work.
Processing the opinions of others, we respect with the lens of ‘they must know more’ or what’s good for them must be good for me” is an easy trap to fall into.
When it comes to defining success, there are some very influential people I know and highly regard, and it would be so easy to simply adopt their opinions as my own. That way I wouldn’t have to do the work of defining what success looks like for me.
But if I don’t dig in, my opinion isn’t backed by substance. I haven’t created my own scorecard and checked the boxes, so how will I stand behind that opinion when it’s challenged?
On the flip side, there are people whose opinions I don’t agree with. The trap here is categorizing those opinions as ‘wrong’.
Just as the people with whom I agree, these individuals have done their own hard work, created their own scorecard, and arrived at their own, completely different definitions for success.
With my own scorecard I can recognize that their opinions are not wrong; they are just not mine. And there is nothing wrong with that.
The challenge with opinions is that we don’t all look at a situation the same way or have the same measures for progress. The good news about opinions is that we don’t all look at a situation the same way or have the same measures for progress.
Yes, it’s the same. The difference is in how we process the opinion. It is not a matter of imposing a right or wrong label. Gaining a different point of view allows you to challenge yourself, think about what lights your life, and determine what is best for you.
Look at opinions through your lens and consider the value of the lens’ that others see the world through. As a trusted colleague tells me – take what you need and leave the rest!
Whose opinions do you listen to?
What do you do with those opinions to enhance your views?