Several years ago I took part in an animated discussion about how to market some particular products and services.
And yes, you can consider an animated discussion as a euphemism for disagreement that wasn’t heated enough to be labeled as an argument.
There were several people involved in this animated discussion of different ages, races and gender.
That particular mix of people wasn’t brought together with any sort of intention or purpose, it was just how things worked out.
But I liked it because it helped me illustrate in very simple terms that sometimes we rely so heavily upon our experience we forget that other people have a different reality than our own.
It Is Not About Being Right
We bounced around ideas but kept coming back to one particular one because one person refused to accept that not everyone used smartphones or a particular social media platform.
“Josh, the only reason you disagree with me is because you want to be right.”
Can’t tell you how many times I heard that or how many times I said it wasn’t about being right.
Fact is one of the best parts about not being in my twenties anymore is I don’t need to always be right and I have no problem admitting when I don’t know something.
Initially the reason I kept pushing back is every time this person said everyone used their smartphones and this platform I wanted to roll my eyes because it wasn’t how I or my friends worked.
How did I know this?
Because I conducted my own unscientific and impromptu survey and the small circle of people I talked to confirmed I was right.
Because when I asked the women in the room how they felt about walking alone at night or in parking lots they shared thoughts that I didn’t relate to.
I am always aware of my surroundings, but I don’t spend any time wondering or worrying who else is in there.
I just walk.
Now that might sound like a contradiction of not caring about being right all the time, but it is not supposed to be.
It is supposed to help illustrate that our lives and experiences impact our perception of reality.
Why is that important?
Because when you are trying to sell an idea you need to tailor that idea to your audience.
Whose Reality Is Most Important?
That conversation came back up in memory because my children and I spent time talking about the upcoming election and the promises/comments the candidates are making.
It came back up because they are hearing all sorts of different things at school and are trying to make sense of it all.
So I made a point to talk about how our experiences and backgrounds impact this and I asked them to answer whose reality is most important.
I didn’t expect them to come up with the perfect or correct answer because I don’t think it is that simple.
But I wanted them to remember that there is merit in listening and questioning others. There is merit in remembering that people most often establish priorities and objectives based upon what suits and services their needs first.
We’ll never make everyone happy and shouldn’t try to be all things to all people but we shouldn’t forget how people work either.
People aren’t automatically against you, they just have different priorities and obligations than you do.
When you keep that in mind life often becomes easier, or so the theory goes.
What do you think?