Sunday, October 4, 2015

Thoughts on Ideas

Let's talk about ideas.
It's nearly impossible to win an argument. Think about the last political argument you saw take place between sparring Facebook commenters. Were any positions changed? Was any progress made? If you're experience is anything like mine, the answer is no.
We're all emotionally invested in our ideas. When I'm discussing my position on an issue, it's more than just a position. It's my position. It's a little bit of me.
It's hard to distance yourself from your ideas, to step back and observe them objectively. It takes time and care to separate your beliefs from your identity.
When you're trying to "win" an argument, you're trying to reach across the table and rip apart the ideas and identity of your opponent.
This will not work.
When you try to force someone to dismantle their identity, they inevitably do the opposite, pulling their ideas and identity together even tighter than before.
Instead of trying to tear apart your adversary, simply plant the seed of your idea in their mind. Trust that in their own time they will slowly and gently separate their ideas from their identity and consider yours instead.
They key is that you present your ideas in a manner that allows them to take root. Don't throw them around tied to harsh words or accusations. Don't pollute them with arrogance. Don't use a firehose when a sprinkle will suffice.
It will probably take years for your idea to take hold, and that's OK. It may take generations, and that's OK too.

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