I read this line yesterday and it got me thinking about nonconformity.
“A culture that prizes traditional conformity, for example, may perceive specific kinds of individual rights and freedoms (e.g. freedom of speech) to pose a threat.” —Geographical Psychology, Exploring the Interaction of Environment and Behavior edited by Peter J. Rentfrow
There certainly is ease within organizations or families when conformity rules. However, there also is a lack of creativity and innovation when we don’t have opposing viewpoints to challenge our long-held assumptions.
“A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates
when he becomes a conformist.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Similarity or perceived similarity creates PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY to speak our minds, knowing that people basically agree with you. The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson refers to the people in our lives who challenge us as “BEAUTIFUL ENEMIES”. What an apt description, huh? We need to be challenged to be stretched. Keep your beautiful enemies close AND consult them often.
How do we share our perspectives without making others wrong?
Perhaps the goal isn’t to change minds.
What if our goal was simply to be HEARD?
To be heard, we have to LISTEN. Really listen.
Now, if I can practice what I preach, my teenagers would tell you I have a lot of work to do.
I have a very helpful one page pdf file titled Blocks To Listening. It’s a real game changer for both our personal and professional lives. I thought I was a decent communicator—I learned that I was way off the mark in so many ways. E-mail me to request a copy.