I like to argue. I like to debate. I also like to ask questions.

I’m not doing this because I’m a contrarian. I’m not doing this because I’m annoying (I’m annoying for a whole host of other reasons…) I do it because I am always looking for new perspective. I do it because I am always looking for the opposite opinion. We only grow by learning, and we only learn by questioning and talking. But somewhere along the line, I think we’ve forgotten that.

Last week my blog friend Kim wrote a review for a book. She really liked the book, while I didn’t. Her review was very accurate as to what happened and how the author explained things.

“Good review. But I still don’t like the book.” I said.

“I didn’t expect you to change your mind.” she replied.

“You didn’t?” I asked. Now here’s where written communication gets tricky because I needed a wink emoji in here because I was totally joking.

“No. Not at all.” she responded seriously.

To which I replied that I was joking, because obviously we are allowed to share opinions and not expect people to change their minds.

Aren’t we?

This week I wrote a few blogs with what you could call discussionable topics. I was discussing a point I had made with a blog friend, and at one point she said “You’re not going to get me to change my mind.” I responded quickly that my goal wasn’t to get her to change her mind, only think about something in a different way.

There are very few things that are completely right or completely wrong. The vast majority of things fall in the grey area of life. Unfortunately, I think most people only discuss their theory of thought, and only read things, or watch things,  that back up their particular ideology. This is a dangerous game. This divides us.

I admit this line of thinking is why I don’t discuss politics or religion. It’s why many people don’t discuss politics or religion. People become zealots to a certain degree- where they just keep telling you their opinion is right, and the other is wrong, and you’re stupid if you don’t agree.

Point of fact- no one is stupid.

Point of fact- there is more than one way to look at any subject.

Point of fact- right and wrong are arbitrary.

Point of fact- no one knows everything.

This is why (with the exception of politics or religion) I choose to discuss things. I look forward to meeting up with my friend S, because she, more often than not, disagrees with me on everything. I love talking to her because she makes me think about things in ways I hadn’t thought of. I need to go out of my mental comfort zone and see the other side of the picture. She may not change my mind, but she has given me food for thought. She has expanded my mind.

If you only study what you know, how do you learn anything new?

Don’t shy away from discussing ideas with others- it shouldn’t mean that someone is trying to force one’s opinion down another’s throat. It should mean opening up another line of dialogue. It should mean temporarily putting your feet in someone else’s shoes. It should mean learning something that you didn’t know when the day started.

Ask a question. Share your thoughts. Learn something new. Think about something differently.

Open your mind.

 

 

60 thoughts on “I Bet I Can Change Your Mind

  1. Awesome post! Even though I usually steer away from debating, you make great points. Perhaps I need to step out more, I am just one that doesn’t like rippling the waters, been that way since childhood! I do think it depends who you get into a debate with too. For some just get so heated about things, I would rather debate things in a friendly way with like you said, not the person thinking that I am trying to change their mind ,just looking at it from a new perspective. Sadly I think too many of us are so quick to get defensive, and that’s what scares away people from debating.
    I always enjoy the way you approach subjects though to debate, in a non judgmental way! Have a great day!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve found, when I begin questioning and interjecting various “well, what if…” comments trying to spark intelligent discussion it becomes clear very quickly who is open and who immediately takes offense. Case in point: I work on the hospital OB floor. I have a background in OB education and pregnancy support, but that is not my job now. Although I don’t always agree with a medicalized management model of OB care I have respect for the staff and what they do. In what I assumed to be a friendly discussion of pain management and alternatives, and after I asked what I believed to be an honest question regarding that topic I was made to see that going down the road I felt strongly about was not welcome. I had wanted to learn from the staff and their viewpoints, they in turn felt I was simply being critical. Discussion was clearly not an option 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so sad though! On one hand, we scream loudly about his open minded we all are, but in reality….we don’t act that way at all. Has the world just become more hypocritical? Do as I say, not as I do? I love to have a real back and forth about anything…. (3 book discussion groups….) I don’t understand the reluctance. Is it ego?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ego maybe. I feel more inclined to a firm indoctrination into a belief system in many cases though, rather that be religious, political, gendered systems of power, ageism, racism…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wrote a post on this very subject for my life coaching website a while back. It’s one of the problems with social media’s algorithms that they only present us with what they already know we think & like. A friend & I used to have what we called “data mining” discussions. We’d start sharing what we each already knew on a topic, then we’d progress to “what if” and “how about” … The discussion could take place over many conversations as we’d add new information/learnings to it. Their purpose wasn’t to work out an empirical right or wrong, it was to examine a subject from as many points of view as was possible before we started to form an opinion. Our lives changed such that neither of us has the time nor opportunity for such wide ranging chats & I must admit to missing them. Debating is a lost art now – what with political correctness, offence being taken, showboating, and the determination of having the only right view. It’s a shame.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post. I was talking to a friend the other day about how as a teenager I thought the world was black and white and everything was right or wrong. The older I’ve gotten the more I realise there are many shades of grey in the world and few things are absolutes. I too love hearing alternatives to my own opinion. It helps me to grow as a person and see the world in what I think is actually a more realistic way. It’s impossible to see situations from the point of view of every single culture, faith and background to name only a few things but I feel that we should at least try to see things from perspectives other than our own. That way we have a much greater appreciation of life. In my humble opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a friend whom I went to school with who no longer resides on this continent (North Am.) She and I have many email conversations. We have polar opposite opinions on many things (religion is one) and are like-minded in equally as many (parenting, hormonal women, men, etc).

      There are some days when one of us is in a snippy mood. If it’s her I can tell immediately that that day is not a good day to get into debatable discussions. Because…she appears to not read my email entirely but crafts some big justification on some point in the original email to try and change my perspective. I can always tell she never bothered to read my whole email.

      We both get over it quickly and recognize some days, certain topics should just not be discussed.

      Because all the other days, we are perfectly able to allow our subjective views to just be, without argument or effort to change the other person’s mind.

      But usually, we can agree to disagree. This is what I like about the blogging. It’s been a good experience fo me in that sense.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Open-mindedness is one of the variables in the big 5 personality traits assessment paradigm. Some people are open to learning and changing, others are not. The trick is to know who you’re talking with before you can determine if your words will fall on a closed mind or an open one. This is a lesson I have learned in life!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s really impossible to post a blog without having a point of view, and reasonable that some people will disagree. The problem is how it is expressed on social media. People often go on the attack, perhaps without realizing how they sound. As a writer, this makes me very defensive. We’re all entitled to our point of view, and your post makes some very good points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve just gotten so insular…I’ve commented on blogs where I disagreed, and most of these people didn’t counter. If you are willing to state an opinion, you have to assume half the people are going to disagree with you. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Disagreeing is not attacking…it’s just having a different opinion

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I really enjoy discussing ideas with people who see things differently, but for some reason it seems that people don’t see it as a debate or learning experience. Instead they think I’m arguing or trying to change their mind and they get angry or upset with me. I’m trying to learn better approaches – being a better listener for one. It’s all about adding zest to life – sharing ideas.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great posts! I totally agree with all the facts that you pointed out. I love debating. Not only because it helps me expand my thinking but also because I get to make others see a topic the way I see it. I don’t want to change their mind. I just want them to see that there is more than one way to look at the topic. But people often misjudge that.
      Sometimes, we need to agree to disagree but for that we must discuss first.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. The point is to remember we are all struggling with something. The other day I was so proud of one of my students for presenting in front of the class on a very debatable and not so pretty topic. She deserved to be heard and she had much courage. I was so proud. We all need to do things like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmm, now you have me wondering do I only ever discuss, read or watch things that back my engrained theories of thought? Perhaps, and I to live with one rule in mind, I seldem ever converse politics or religion because arguements ensue, people get angry and NO one wins…………………… plus they’re (yawn) boring conversations.

    (One exception I will discuss politics with blogger Kim…….)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post. I don’t discuss politics or religion either, because it’s too much of a hot topic and often turns friendly get-togethers into something else. As for book reviews, I have always said that the best book discussions are the ones where people have wildly different opinions about the book. I always want to know why someone didn’t like a book I loved. It’s tricky though, because when I don’t like a book, I don’t want to offend the author. I think readers can hold their own. Lots to talk about!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Totally agree, though I suppose I could argue the opposite. Right vs wrong when it comes to the law is not always arbitrary. We tend to have friends that share mostly the same views, so we mostly have to make a concerted effort to find subjects and people who have different viewpoints, except religion and politics those abound in every situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. One of the things I loved most as an attorney was bouncing ideas back and forth with colleagues. We didn’t look at it like having a disagreement. Instead we looked at all angles and tried playing out scenarios. I would often leave the discussion with a completely different analysis then what I had in the beginning. It sort of shines a light on parts of the topic that I hadn’t thought about. I learned. And my contribution helped them see things they hadn’t thought about too. It’s getting harder to find folks willing to discuss things that way anymore. Like you say, we’ve become divided.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ha! I would say some people are stupid… Okay -they are most often close-minded and determinedly ignorant.

    What gets me the most is that tendency, to remain ignorant. I see so many who surround themselves with one view. They unfriend people on social media. They create an echo chamber of their view and constantly write or talk about how others are wrong, wrong, wrong!

    So -yes, no religion or politics. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I relate to this so much- I love discussing things, but there’s a huge number of topics where I don’t really see it as a way of changing someone’s mind. Especially when it comes to liking/not liking a book- something massive that book blogging has taught me, both from doing my own reviews and reading others, is that the goal isn’t to change people’s opinions, even if it does create a discussion, it’s just about hearing different perspectives. And I think the same goes for a lot of more serious discussions- like religion- where I don’t think the goal should be to change minds, but to open up to other ways of looking at the world. Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

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