People are stubborn. This is something that affects a significant portion of the world’s population. It revolves around people’s beliefs, their opinions, and to a degree their general intelligence. Everyone has their own opinion. They are absolutely entitled to that. But give me one thing that causes more problems in the world than people with different opinions. You can’t.
Everyone wants to be right all the time.
It’s true isn’t it? You me and everybody else on this planet, we have our opinions, and we are absolutely right until proven wrong. And even then sometimes that’s not enough because we don’t want to admit we’re wrong. And we fight and argue with each other, our pride on the line, waving our egos around because there’s absolutely no way that we could be wrong.
But we can’t be right all the time.
There are over 7 billion people in the world today and that number is growing every day. If we were all right all the time, this planet would be seriously messed up (it is but we’ll save that for another day). But we have this need to be correct about everything, to be the authority on everything because we want to be seen as smart, we want our opinions to matter.
Not a single one of us is as smart as we think we are. There will always be someone else who has more experience, and more knowledge on a subject than we do. That’s either because of personal interests, career choices, time, and effort, whatever. That’s something we need to come to terms with. In the grand scheme of things your pride really isn’t that important. It feels like it though. Oh does it ever feel like it’s important. It’s not.
Your pride is not important, or helpful.
Say two people are having a disagreement. We’ll call them John and Jake. John is a reputable scientist working on a solar energy project. Jake works as a banker but they’re both part of the same social group. Jake heard on the news today that solar energy is potentially dangerous and doesn’t like that John is pro solar energy. John knows from his experience in working with solar energy that it’s not at all dangerous and is potentially very helpful. But Jake knows that the news is a reputable source. That’s where he gets all his information from after all. So they have an argument. Jake is adamant that solar energy is dangerous and tells John what he heard on the news, but John counters with his real life experience that Jake is dead wrong. Jake gets mad because he really doesn’t like being wrong, and he walks away, furious that John is so stubborn.
This might sound silly to you, but people do this every day. In this scenario how much information does Jake actually know about solar energy? He knows whatever the news told him so probably not too much. In this situation Jake was probably wrong. But he was so sure of himself because he knew better, now he and John are going to have a strained relationship. Jake had a closed mind. He wasn’t open to the possibility that he was wrong, that John might know more about the subject than he did.
He was close minded.
Close minded people cause some of the biggest disagreements and debates in the world today. Now what do you think would have happened if Jake had been open to the possibility that maybe he was wrong? Even if he only realized it after John had explained his expertise, he could have apologized for starting an argument about something he knew nothing about and their relationship would be fine.
People with beliefs, or opinions, religious people, smart people, and everyday people, we all think we’re right. We don’t know were right, we want to be right. The next time you’re fed a piece of information, do yourself a favor and question it a little. Don’t just take is as fact because somebody told you. Hold your pride in check, if you’re wrong you’re wrong. In this world, be prepared to be wrong a lot.
When someone proves you wrong, admit it, don’t fight them on it. If you’ve believed something for a long time, and someone else’s belief makes more sense, don’t just hold on to it because it’s your belief. Listen to them. Maybe what they’re saying is worth hearing. You’ll never know if you’re mind is closed.
So open your mind.
You’ll learn more than you ever thought you could.