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Are We Really Creating Change or Just Talking About It?

Are we telling ourselves the truth?

That’s what keeps coming up for me this morning as I sit down to write. Are we really telling ourselves the truth?

[note: this is probably the scariest piece I’ve ever written, so here it goes…this is me, fumbling in the dark trying to be brave]

Recently I participated in a Zoom event that focused on “reaching across the racial divide.” It was a well-attended event, filled with some of my favorite people on the planet, all of whom truly wish to make a positive difference in the world. The event’s intent was to create a ripple effect of change, so we’re not just talking (or, in my case, writing) about what we can do but taking meaningful action to do it. To risk getting uncomfortable in order to understand.

But as I listened and participated and looked around the Zoom room, I couldn’t help but notice that, while we had many different backgrounds and skin colors represented (albeit not as many as I would have liked to see), everyone in the room looked through a very similar lens. We didn’t represent differences, from a socially-economic spectrum. Our thinking on the topics at hand was similar if not the same. I couldn’t help but wonder if we were just simply talking about change. Are we REALLY willing to DO what it takes or do we like the idea of thinking we are?

Thirteen years ago I moved from Seattle to Dallas. Seattle and Dallas are very different cities with very different cultures and very different political views. I packed up my self-righteous beliefs and paraded them about. I bought a bright red Prius when it was first on the market and taught my young son to hiss at the Hummers from his car seat in the back when they drove by. In Dallas, Hummers were plentiful.

One thing I absolutely loved about Dallas was our neighborhood. I hadn’t grown up in a neighborhood where people were close, so for me, it was life-altering. I remember when we first “landed” in Dallas, our neighbor brought over a Texas sheet cake and a bottle of Texas wine to welcome us home. “Wine on the patio” with our group of neighbors became a weekly occurrence as we had young children who grew to love one another as much as we did.

I remember, distinctly, the night my worldview was shattered. I think the red wine had loosened my tongue and I opened the political Pandora’s box. I suspect I said some hurtful things, armed with my better-than-thou beliefs. I’ve always been a fiery, passionate, verbal creature and could wield words like a sword in defense of what I perceived as “right and good.”

The next morning, as I sat in my regret over “going there,” I was flooded with an awareness that I have never lost.

How am I any different?

The thing I had always demonized about the “other” was, what I viewed, as a complete lack of empathy and tolerance. Yet how was I any different, really? Was I showing empathy and tolerance in my views? Not in the least. I wasn’t even stopping for a millisecond to listen and understand, I was so convinced of my own position. That awareness was an awakening for me.

Yesterday on my walk I replayed a remarkable interview between Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. Maya was recounting a dinner party in which one of her guests was making some kind of racist joke. Even though she was across the room, she had overheard it, walked right over to the individual, and said, “Where’s your coat? It’s time for you to leave my house.”

Then, in the interview, she went on to talk about how words like that are poison. Any word that is designed to dehumanize or “other” a human being is like poison. As assuredly as if we were to go to the store and buy a poison and put it in our house, if we allow it to be there, it will seep into the carpets and into the furniture and onto the drapes.

This is what I see our tribal need to “other-ize” one another has done to our culture. We’ve poisoned one another.

But as I sit here writing, I feel impotent about what to do about it. How do we put an end to hatred and bigotry without creating further divide? Do we sit in the fantasy that somehow it will all just magically go away and that people who do not see the value of equality will somehow wake up and say, “Ah yes! I was wrong! Thank you for showing me the light!” Do we think we’re going to march them into submission? If “they’re” in “submission” aren’t “they” still there, fueling “their” anger until opportunity arises? History says yes. Are we destined to keep replaying see-saw with our political parties, whoever wins is “on top” and whoever loses keeps fighting to make the other wrong? We need an uprising, absolutely, but a new kind of uprising.

I don’t see any of these tactics creating REAL lasting change.

Who dares to actually bring people together? To heal the hurt without judgement? Are we telling ourselves the truth about our commitment to create change or are we simply bouncing around in our echo chambers trying to make ourselves feel better about doing something?

This is likely from my position of privilege, so please know that I recognize the cloudiness of my own lens, but I see, at the root of the racial divide, at the root of the political divide, at the root of the socio-economic divide the poison of “the other.” Regardless of our position, if we look at the world as us-against-them, then we are not moving forward, we are entrenching. We are perpetuating the problem.

We have to stop painting human beings with such a broad brush. To recognize that every person has a story and a history that has led them to believe and behave the way they do. How can we find a way to sincerely understand the individual stories that make up the “other”—whoever that “other” is in our narrative? How do we get to the root of the pain that causes such anger and hatred? If we can humanize every person (which is a funny thing to need to do, given that every person is, indeed, a human), how would that change things?

Now, do I have the courage to reach across the divide and listen to the stories of people who have grown to hate and hurt, if I’m really honest, I’m not sure I do. And I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea to invite a white supremacist to our next meeting (goodness, no!). But I do think, if we want to heal, we’re going to need to find a way to bring ALL people together. I pray I can find my brave to take the next right step, whatever that will be.

But let’s not fool ourselves. If we’re not including everyone in the conversation, we’re not really creating change. Let’s tell ourselves the truth.

©A Thoughtful Company, LLC

Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davishttps://www.braveleadershipbook.com/
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

39 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure why it has taken me so long to get back to this. Kimberly, as you know, I had constructed a masterpiece response to this last week, and for some reason the technology trolls struck that lovely piece down, and I we are bereft of the enlightenment that might have ensued. For the last couple of days, I was unable to log in to leave a comment as me. So now here I am. Not that my comments will make any difference on any level, but that Zoom call has never been been far from my mind. Kimberly and Jeff, your discussion is so rich and speaks to how this issue is so difficult for so many to wrap their heads around.

    Part of me is bothered by the raw simplicity of what we’re talking about. One way is to just love on each other and don’t give hate no truck. Part of the issue is that we can’t see where this moment will bring us. We may feel like we are spinning our wheels and dancing in the dark – but the very conversations that we’re having might be laying the groundwork for the magic that we so desperately want to see happen. Everyone so desperately wants to see the world change that we sometimes miss seeing the world change. We are going through a massive sea change right now… and how the world looks on the other side is what we don’t see yet. If we aren’t seeing the change that we want to see yet, what are we hoping to see? Take my hand, I can’t sing, but I will hum along with whatever feel good song that you think will elevate the conversation.

    While we want that electrifying sea change to be brazenly plain and apparent and immediate, let’s leave space for embracing the what is. We are talking, and we all find this to be a really important topic. George Floyd died at the end of May and we are still talking about the same things. A lot hot summer of pandemic and social change and a lot of other things going on, an election year and economic whiplash – and no one has changed the subject. So my short answer, in typically long answer fashion, is that yes, we are “just talking about it.” Or we are STILL talking about it. And the change is still going on. I’m a middle aged white guy so much of what I say can be thrown out the window, and probably will be, but still talking about this is keeping it on the front burner. Maybe it doesn’t have that same feel good jazz of marching down main street or of burning down someone else’s business, but we have to make that sea change in our own circles.

    In my break-out room that afternoon, someone asked me what “Black Lives Matter” means to me. I had remarked that one of my neighbors is black and he had put the sign in his front window. I said that it doesn’t make any difference what those words mean to me – I just wanted to approach him, as a neighbor and as one of the 85% of the white folks who probably make him feel like he is living on an island – and ask him what those words mean to him. And whatever he answers, I want him to know that I hear what he says. That’s where I have to start with making change. I have to start by making him feel less invisible.

    From there I have to call my niece in Oakland, CA and have a video call with her and her partner, who is black. I have to make sure that we are trying to tear down divisions in our family. I want to ask questions, have questions asked of me and I want to listen and learn about how I can be better. The world will be what the world will be, but if I am not changing and growing, how the heck can I have higher expectations for the rest of the world? Those are the first two areas that I have to do. I am not expecting to change the whole world. I am just trying to make a change in areas that I orbit in. I am not torching what anyone else says or saying what is going on in world is good enough, or not enough or can be better or is anything other than the unknowable extension of what has been a wildly eccentric year. And I want to be engaged in seeing where we can keep this ball in the air, and move ahead. Maybe we’ll only keep talking.

    I won’t abandon hope. I can’t. I’m not sure if I even addressed the angst that caused you to write this, but it’s where my thoughts have taken me. And I appreciate all that you bring to every discussion, Kimberly.

    • So much goodness in this, Tom! Thank you for coming back to this, even after your musings disappeared. My guess is that, in the time between your writings, you pondered it even further and that this was the culmination of a lot of Tom-thought. I think the most powerful declaration was, “I have to start with making change. I have to start by making him feel less invisible.” Imagine what would change if every single one of us were to do that? That, my friend, could change the world. Hugs to you!

  2. The main mistake we make is to assume that others are like us, think like us, know what we know.
    As human beings we have many things in common, but each is unique: his experiences, his environment, his knowledge, will ensure that he sees and experiences the world in a way that is – at least in part – different from that of anyone. other. Even two homozygous twins (with the same genetic makeup) develop as different people!
    The truth is that everyone is different from us: it may sound trivial and obvious, but how many times do we keep this in mind while communicating?
    If we forget it, we can make many mistakes.
    Racism and xenophobia are above all the expression of aggressive prejudices and impulses and are based on an image that we have forged of the “other” as an enemy who often abstracts from his real behavior. The victims are interchangeable scapegoats: an aspect that must be properly taken into account.
    Participants in serious projects against racism are called to confront their own identity, to recognize their own prejudices and understand their reasons and to learn to deal with conflicts constructively: the (potential) aggressors must become aware of their prejudices and find alternatives the use of violence; (potential) victims must be able to defend themselves, to listen and help and to correctly process their condition of discrimination. We need to analyze the power relations and structures that favor discrimination and to develop and implement the necessary corrections. We need to speak openly about racial discrimination and racism in order to declare a social problem and to root the fight against racism in common sentiment. It is also a matter of showing clearly that it is possible to create conditions that prevent racism and discrimination.
    Without the eradication of discrimination, integration is doomed to failure.

  3. Kimberly, I was going to reach out after the Zoom meeting since I had similar questions and concerns you raised in the breakout room. So many levels to this conversation starting with our own self-reflection as you do so courageously. Yes we need to see how we stop ourselves from reaching across the aisle which I thought would be easy for people like you and me and all others in our beautiful circles. It is not. I also look at human beings who have very different worldly news and always remind myself they came to be like this for a reason just like me feeling and thinking in a certain way. We all were innocent babies at some point. What happens to us, where we grow, what we hear shapes our opinions. Thinking this way makes us all more compassionate and see the similarities. I know you and many here do that already.

    I have the same questions as you do so that we can get beyond our circles. When it comes to topics like believing in science or trusting people as a whole or need for more equality in healthcare, I am stopped in my tracks if they don’t believe in these things. It has been very hard to be in a conversation. I try to listen and stay neutral. One time because I said I love the leadership style of our governor, people wished me poverty and homelessness and to facetime them when it happens. When these comments are made, it makes me wonder how to talk to them. The best way I was able to react so far was not to react at all since in the past I would want to be right and argue with them. But we all know this is not enough.

    When I am too hard on myself, my loving friends who have been discriminated and made felt second class, giving a much bigger fight than I do, tell me to be tender and kind to myself. I think we all want to make these massive changes right away but it is going to take more than our life time. I ask myself “what if we create the intention to be more aware and reach out to others even if it may be very hard at times, never to give up but also accept it will happen gradually and slowly?” More like minded people will get together like we do in BizCatalyst360 but that eventually may bring us to a different place organically to be able to reach others as well. I can only speak for myself but I feel like I am sometimes trying too hard to do all of it all at once, trying to make sense of it all at once, want enlightenment to happen all at once and not accepting there is a flow and pace for all of this to happen. This may be a great start even if we see people who are like us. Our inner work and our inner circles is where it will blossom and then we need to believe it will turn into something bigger. This is all I am telling myself as I feel the uneasiness like you do and be truthful too if this gives any relief at all. Love these conversations even if it is among us for now.

    • I so love you, Brooke! I love how you wrestle with the big questions and get your heart all muddied and battered because you’ve leapt headlong into the questions. You, my friend, are such a special human being. I think we need to be prepared to be uncomfortable in this place for a long, long time. To keep staying open and inching our way forward in the dark. I do believe that if we stay committed to knowing in the unknown that we will braille our way there – but it takes loads and loads and loads of trust. It takes good friends who remind you who you are and who you want to be, and it occasionally takes a nice glass of wine! LOL! (Can you tell that I’m responding at the end of the day???!)

  4. Hello Kimberly,
    This is a great write up. I was at this zoom as you know😁. Being in the same room.
    I have to say that I don’t think we are looking through the same lens. As you said, we all have different stories comprised of completely different experiences.
    Like an artist of photography, every lens is quite unique and full of different focus to various detail.
    From what I can see is yes, there is a lot of talk, but this is the first step in action. So the action is happening. The process of time is something we have to endure as well.
    Interactions in life are exclusive, talking about it and sharing after become inclusive, when we are having the conversations. Pain is something we can all relate to.

    I really enjoyed this discussion and I found it a great place to learn, discuss and share. We are all wanting action and have so many ideas. We are all diverse humans and all want to be included. When we reach into the thoughts of others we find there is so much to honour in the differences of others. What amazes me is the idea of an open mind…without this, there can be no action that is going to be truly effective. We gain wisdom when we listen with the open mind , we lose it when we do nothing with the closed mind.
    Anyway. That’s my thought.
    What I take away? The fact that there needs to be a soft approach in how to make everyone feel like they matter. I continue to make it my daily walk to make someone feel this.
    To be mindful, present and on guard every single day and erase any judgements. To keep looking for good in all there is. There is always good.
    Thank you Kimberly🙏

    • That’s beautiful, Paula. I love your gentle, hopeful, perspective. I don’t think we saw the world that differently during the Zoom – I think I shift as I sit with the conversation as I reflect upon it. It’s not necessarily about what was reflected in our room’s discussion and more in my own observations over time.

  5. Thank you for sharing your reflections of the Salon 360 conversation, Kimberly. You, as always, make me think… about my own responsibilities in both tempering my passion and learning how to be a better listener… and about how easy it is to equate different with wrong or less than. I know that it’s human nature to find those like us more comfortable, but maybe it’s time that we learn how to be comfortable getting uncomfortable. A complex task for sure, but the fact that many of us left that conversation thinking about our own role and responsibilities gives me hope. And the fact that we’re still grappling with how to shift from angry disagreements to meaningful dialogue tells me that maybe we’re on the right track.

  6. Going to two hours could help with answering those “ownership” questions, but at least for me, there is still way too much I don’t know about this topic – racism / white privilege – to answer it for personal action. That’s why I’m trying to make my way through Kendi’s book.

  7. Addition to my comment, below: I just realized that what I said may have easily been misconstrued – I did not mean there were far right people in this community, but just that there are people I know think differently and did not attend. Perhaps we could find out why?

  8. Great candid commentary here, Kimberly as we need more folks like you willing to show up, step up, and speak up. And more folks “unlike you” = fresh voices. We need folks who come to the table ready to focus on the tough issues, ready to disagree without being disagreeable, ready to (actually) walk the talk when it comes to creating (actual) ripples of positive change.

    It takes brave, it takes commitment, it takes casting aside the headlines and coming off the “skeptical” sidelines. It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar, and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward — changing ourselves and the world around us — will apply equally to all. Quoting from your closing paragraph: “let’s not fool ourselves. If we’re not including everyone in the conversation, we’re not really creating change. Let’s tell ourselves the truth.”
    ______

    The time is now for that truth. “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Let us return to the dance, this time bringing more fresh voices along, more focus, more walkin’ … Our next dance: https://ishort.ink/kVoG

  9. Kimberly – I have been thinking too about the Zoom and your comments resonate. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is that we may not need to go outside the Bizcatalyst world to get a more diverse perspective as there are several writers I have encountered while part of this community that I think have different views than I heard in that Zoom. Why did only those who want to talk attend? Is there a way we could reach out in the spirit of wanting to know more about different opinions? I know they are there, as they have posted comments on my posts. I’m not sure we need someone on the far right to provide a rich discussion. I am not sure I am in the same camp as those on the Zoom except for the fact that I share wanting to learn and heal.

    I also agree with Jeff about not changing the topic. There is too much left to discuss on this one, which could easily be broadened into “differences.” That said, I’m not generally a fan of “speakers” unless they really agree to a dialogue.

    But the idea of members of this community that Dennis has built having real discussion sounds very good to me. I just don’t know how to do it.

    • Thanks for your feedback here, Carol. Our challenge from the conception of Salon 360° through launch has been (and will no doubt continue to be) attracting “fresh voices” and/or those with dissenting opinions – precisely the ingredients we need to both identify and see the real issues through multiple lenses, lest we risk the “bobble-head doll effect” of everyone looking at the what they believe to be the issues from the same vantage point and ultimately nodding heads in perpetual agreement. Be assured that while we don’t have the roadmap to achieve the ideal mix of people, culture, opinion, etc., we do have the will to soldier on buoyed by the folks who believe that incremental change (one ripple at a time) is reasonable and achievable with the right level of commitment and optimism. Without question, it will take a consistent outreach from us and all those who aspire for Salon 360° to prevail to attract/invite/encourage those elusive fresh voices. If we’ve learned anything with all that we do, this forum (and any such forums seeking candor) must be viewed as a safe place where everyone, and I mean everyone can be seen, valued, and heard, without exception.

  10. Kimberly, thank you for opening the door and sharing your reflection.

    I had somewhat of a similar reaction as you did. In my post-meeting / debrief communication, I urged us NOT to move to another topic for the next meeting. If we do that, we will simply devolve into the fruit of the month discussion. We may not want to invite a white supremacist to the meeting, but I read a fascinating article in the NY Times by someone who WAS a supremacist and moved away from it. https://nyti.ms/2Ph1PZs What could we all learn from her?

    There are other excellent resources / speakers available to us if we want to avail ourselves of them. One thing I would urge us to do is work with the original question posed at the meeting: “Where do we want to go from here?” Asked another way, “What is it that we want to accomplish via this group?” Greater awareness? Greater sensitivity? Individual action? Maybe we don’t all have to DO or ENGAGE in the same follow-up?

    Finally, to your excellent point, some of the same issues at work here keep us divided elsewhere, especially politically. I also see that our discussion can’t just be limited to race just because it is today’s headline. We have to accept the fact that our country – great as it is compared to others – is historically steeped in intolerance in other areas: gender, religion, sexual preference, immigration. How do we become more accepting of those with whom we disagree?

    More questions than answers, but willing to talk through them to get at some direction.

    • All good feedback here, Jeff. To be sure, the question posted for the meeting (in advance) was “Beyond the Racial Divide / Where do we go from here?” was then followed by our opening remarks which then (attempted) to place ownership (individual action) squarely in the hands of each participant: “What if you left this room ready to do one thing. Create one ripple of change with your family, with your friends, with your business colleagues, with, with, with. What is that one thing that you can do starting today? Imagine the possibilities. What if shift began to happen one voice, one person, one day at a time?” The question was to counter the avalanche of “skeptics” encountered in the buildup to the Salon challenging the notion of changing the world. Hence; our focus on embracing change (e.g. enlightenment) one person at a time to trigger that elusive “ripple/butterfly effect” so as to set the stage for progress, however small versus overwhelming with a lofty “world-changing” objective.
      __________

    • Jeff (and Dennis, if you’re reading this) I would absolutely LOVE to stay focused on this topic for awhile and get some outside speakers to represent other points of view. I think the big challenge that most people face is how to have this really charged conversations that represent polarizing viewpoints in a respectful and constructive way. I remember going to the women’s march last year and there were signs that were so hateful and filled with venom and I couldn’t help but think to myself, “This is ridiculous. Nobody is going to change their thinking because someone told you you were a stupid **!!%$%%^! People are just going to entrench.” Yet, I too get so fired up when I think of what’s happening, politically, in our country that it makes me crazy. I know that it’s hard for me to be constructive, so I just don’t join the conversation, which is the problem. We’re not having constructive conversations. If we could LEARN how to have divisive conversations in a healthy, respectful way, I suspect it would change everything. Having a platform for a group of self-proclaimed “influencers” trying to learn how to do that? Priceless.

      • Indeed, we like Jeff’s notion of staying on topic for all the right reasons, Kimberly. As for getting outside speakers (another great idea) simply a matter of using our collective reach to find the right speaker(s) willing to show up, step up, and speak up for the good of amplifying our quest for enlightenment and consequential “ripples of change” (hearts and minds) “for good”…

        • One of the comments that jolted me a bit at the end of Mike’s “Go!” meeting last Friday was somebody saying “We don’t want training. We do training at work.” Or something to that effect. But I share Kimberly’s sentiment above: I personally feel very stuck. I have no idea how to approach people with starkly different views of the world in an effort to find common ground. I often get bogged down in trying to explain how I feel. The other person and I then see that we’re at loggerheads. We’ve not inched toward the middle, I think, because we don’t know how. How do I figure that out without external “training” or a lot of reading on my own?

          And then there is the question of where I engage people with differing views? I’ve stayed away from internet “debates” largely because I see the most extreme views being expressed often venomously: I am a “snowflake” or a socialist or a radical trying to undermine America. If I give any “opposing” view, I’m not patriotic.

          One thing I can say for certain is that “we” won’t get better at this until our leaders get better at it. If all people see is divisiveness expressed by their leaders, they will mimic it. Right now, it’s open season “out there.”

          I just reread the Humanity-Roadmap doc: Action and Activism are the lead-off hitters on the list. I don’t know how to do that productively in this extremely charged climate — unless it’s on a very personal level. And by that I mean, reading, studying and adopting behaviors that seek to see the best in all people and safeguard the planet.

          • Jeff, I get it. We are cut from a very similar cloth and I struggle with the same thing. I’ve been marinating over a powerful podcast interview I listened to with Gabby Bernstein for the last several days. (I just bought her book, Judgement Detox). Your thoughts have inspired me to go back to listen to it again and capture it for all of us.

            She said, “Are you going to choose to speak up from a place of judgement and attack or are you going to choose to speak up from a place of oneness, kindness and compassion? When we speak up from a place of judgement and attack, we add flames to the fire. When we speak up from a place of grounded forgiveness, compassion, oneness and kindness and even if there are tinges of anger in there, but we have done our work on it, we can be heard…. There’s a big difference between discernment and judgement. You can look at the situation at what’s happening globally or politically – when we look around and we see these major injustices, we have to get real. But we have to do our work on our experience of it first. Take that rage and use that rage, but it has to be cleaned up before it can be projected. It’s when calm, centered, healthy people come together that real change occurs. The person we have to channel the most is Martin Luther King. He is not a man who created a movement around rage and anger, he’s a man who created a movement around peaceful protest. Channel your Gandhi, channel your Martin Luther King, channel the people who have lived through the greatest injustices and call on that so you can ask yourself clearly, ‘what would Martin Luther King do?’ There was no silence there. It was not a movement based on silence. But it was definitely not a movement based on judgement.”

          • Love this conversation Jeff, as it inspires us to think deeper about where we go from here and how we get there – all of course, an evolving work-in-progress by design. Some thoughts on your commentary: We were keenly aware that many folks weren’t equipped to deal with dissent/disagreement with the Salon – particularly when focused on such a challenging topic. Which is why we opted to provide everyone with the following (generic) advance resources within their Salon confirmation message:

            RECOMMENDED RESOURCE LINKS
            What Does it Mean to be in a Thinking Environment & Why Does it Matter? https://ishort.ink/TYYU
            Intellectual Humility: Are You Open to Being Wrong? https://ishort.ink/bgZh
            TED: The Beauty & Complexity of Finding Common Ground https://ishort.ink/U8Ex
            TED: Dare to Disagree https://ishort.ink/5Krr
            TED: On Being Wrong https://ishort.ink/Dh6Q

            We intentionally kept the resources generic vs. topic-specific to avoid slanting the topic in any particular direction. Your sentiment is right on target, and please know that you are in good company when it comes to exploring the best approach to people with starkly different viewpoints. May not work for everyone, but I’ve discovered a lot of success with opening the dialogue with “I’m just curious / help me understand” followed by simply listening without distraction, interruption, or query until the other party has responded to their satisfaction. Then and only then do I begin to drill down further and further all on the basis of seeking real understanding and hopefully enlightenment. Not always a slam dunk, but generally works remarkably well, likely because the other party feels heard, with their opinion valued (irrespective of agree/disagree). Bottom line: we are intentionally moving forward and embracing uncharted waters. “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our own light.” Thanks for adding such value to this discussion, my friend.

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