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July 5th, 2018
The common phrase is to walk the talk. Or do what you say you will.
Even this is difficult, to take action based on things we know and proclaim we believe and hope for. You think it would be easier.
But let’s take a step back and look at something even harder.
We have all read a book, or heard a concept that felt at once like an illuminating revelation and a comforting confirmation.
Did we take action based on the new idea? Or did we simply slide our own views closer to the interesting, perhaps well-articulated idea? No change is necessary if we are simply coming across a finer-tuned confirmation of what we have always known and believed, right?
Let’s take another step back and look at something even harder.
We all come across ideas and concepts that we do not like. That happens every day and our sensitivity to such things is frankly, ridiculous. But what about that space between these last two spots on the spectrum? Somewhere between… coming across an illuminating confirmation and something that provokes a straight-up NO. Something that teases out a little curiosity but also makes us raise our guard?
This is that hazy space that defines our boundaries.
And yet, is it not universally regarded as a good thing when we push our own boundaries? Is it not universally regarded as growth?
Does this not imply that we should encourage strong curiosity when it comes to things that raise our guard?
There are three simple steps here:
First is simply doing what we say: Walking the Talk. That’s perhaps the first box to check off.
The second is pushing our boundaries. And those are often found by experimenting with views that we aren’t sure we agree with. And.
Not talk, not thought, only action, only by walking that talk. Experimenting with new talk, and walking it. That’s growth.
The third is the most radical: To not simply disagree flat-out with others and their concepts, but to develop the right balance of skepticism and Confidence 2.0 that allows you to wholly abandon your own views for a little while and try on a different pair of shoes. And then take a walk in them.
This might sound like some nerve-wracking heresy, and in some instances it can be dangerous, and one can easily lose their way in favor of people adept at manipulation. But it’s also the quickest method for say… learning a language. Full, unapologetic immersion. Nothing is going to get you speaking Chinese faster than moving to some part of rural China where English simply doesn’t exist. To simply function requires a nearly wholesale abandoning of one’s native language.
Let’s dial it back to something less extreme. Say a common topic of contention. How would such a conversation go if you had already donned the perspective you disagree with? And not simply thought and talked about, but acted differently as per the perspective and experienced the results of such.
Consistency, of a certain variety, is far too overrated in today’s day and age. We must remember what both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln once said…
The former said “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Or rather the one most willing to change.
And when the celebrated president was accused of political flip-flopping on an issue, he said “I like to think I’m smarter today than I was yesterday.”
Simply put, changing your mind is a sign of health, and potentially a vastly more efficient recipe for success. It requires flexibility, which is a kind of creativity, and by sampling all the kool-aides, we can pick out the best ingredients, and from the morass, concoct our own secret sauce.
Frankly. It’s not enough to walk the talk. That’s where you start. That’s the foundation.
Where you go is ultimately determined by how carefully you listen.
And then of course,
You have to develop the courage to risk changing.
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