It is so easy to get emotionally fired up about issues that we’re passionate about and let our ego get in the way of hearing the other person’s perspective. We feel our way to our beliefs rather than using reasoning. Every comment from the other person is an affront to our values and beliefs. It becomes a zero-sum game, and we start talking past each other rather than talking to each other.

Before we know, we have cliques at the workplace/community/even family and, the identities of persons weigh more in our mind than their ideas. We enter into conversations and meetings with a prejudiced mind. We imagine hidden agendas and personal vendetta. These meetings gush out more vitriol than desired outcomes. Dialogue becomes harder, projects delayed, and culture gets more sullied.

What if we could choose to –

–             Approach every conversation with curiosity and be willing to listen to one another even when we disagree

–             Be open to the possibility of learning something new

–             Be empathetic and respectful to each other despite disagreements

–             Identify and understand the values and beliefs that guide both the sides

–             Separate ideas from identity

–             Challenge our assumptions 

–             Allow for the likelihood of being wrong

–             Remember the shared objective that we are working towards

Give yourself a chance to engage respectfully, with curiosity, and with openness. Challenge your habits of thought. If you find yourself very attached to your idea, ask what it would take to change your mind. The exercise will open up your attitude and foster curiosity. It will allow you to stop dismissing, start engaging, and be more invested in persuading and getting persuaded to serve the shared objective.