Home > The Monday Musings Column > a thought, or two, at Christmas

a thought, or two, at Christmas

I wrote the other week about how thrilled that I was when someone publicly disagreed with something that I had written. Disagreement is what moves us forward and allows us to grow and being able to challenge, in an appropriate way, an idea is important. One of the reasons that I do not support the vogue of political correctness is that it denies so many opportunities for discussion and debate. The idea that someone else’s view could offend me I accept, but being offended is a personal choice and I would rather understand why someone holds an opinion that I don’t agree with. Who knows whether or not one of us might persuade the other to change their position if we don’t discuss it?

It doesn’t matter to me how abhorrent I might find another person’s opinion; unless I discuss it with them I am never going to have the chance to understand why they hold that view, and if I can’t understand I am missing an opportunity to learn.

I could put this down to my star sign of Libra, but I think that is more likely to be a mix of a natural inquisitiveness together with a long working career as a negotiator. Learning came naturally to me as a small boy and I still love to learn new things. Negotiating is partly an art of compromise, or at least appearing so, but successful negotiation is about learning what the other party really wants.

Over the years I have developed some highly successful teams, but with the best will in the world few people gave many of those teams a chance. Where we succeeded was that I was able to work with people who had open minds, people who would try, people who would learn, people who were open to there being another way to do things. They were people who could see the colours in all their shades and glory and not just as black or white because life is never that simple.

It always disappoints me when I come across intelligent people who cannot, or will not, look beyond their entrenched views. We need all of the intellect we can muster to be be put to good use; we need to develop thinkers as well as doers and we need them in all fields.

I don’t care what your racial background is, nor the colour of your skin, your religious beliefs (or lack of them), your sex (or sexual orientation) or how old you are, but I do care about your opinion. We are approaching the season of goodwill, or at least as some call it, so in the interests of promoting that being prepared to accept that not everyone things like you do is a small step, for the opposite is really bigotry and that we should all be seeking to see an end to.

For the next three weeks I will be injecting a little holiday humour into these posts. Have a good break and I wish you peace (whether you agree with me or not).



  1. December 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

    As always a beautifully argued point for openness and discussion. I was taught if you disagreed strongly with another’s view you are better off asking questions and seeking reasons for their view than ever trying to persuade them to change?

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