In Part 1 of this post, I wrote that it’s human nature to believe strongly that you are right when you are arguing with someone, and that the other person is wrong. I also said that I found myself in such a situation when the co-authors of our book, Conflict—The Unexpected Gift, and I were involved in writing the book. We agreed not to divide up the chapters to be written. Rather, we agreed to work as a team, combining our insights as we wrote each chapter.
I also noted in Part 1 that I discovered as long as I was putting all my energy into defending my viewpoint, my mind could not take in anything that was worthwhile in the perspectives the other authors were favoring. It was only after a situation arose, in which I was willing to yield my position for the greater good of completing the writing of a chapter, that I could eventually see the validity of their approaches.
In this second part of my post, I offer several additional understandings I gained.
The first time I gave up my perspective and embraced those of my fellow authors for the greater good of finishing the writing of a chapter, it also came to me that I had to be 100% in favor of their perspectives for the writing process to work. I realized that otherwise I would continue to drag my feet, which I knew would undermine what we were trying to accomplish as a team. That understanding opened a door for me to see through their eyes to the fullest the views they were advocating. Previously, I had not done that.
The four of us soon reached another situation, in which we differed on how to present and explain a conflict resolution approach we were trying to get across to the readers of our book. I felt elated when I experienced to my great surprise the other three authors giving my perspective at least as much consideration as they were giving theirs. I sensed they did this because in the previous situation I wrote about in Part 1, I was finally willing not only to listen deeply to what they had to say but also to enthusiastically accept their views.
Each of us is empowered to have a uniquely valuable perspective on life situations. Through our perspective, we define what makes sense to us, which is differentiated from how others see and experience the same life situations. However, being willing to acknowledge we don’t know everything provides us with a powerful tool to expand our own perspectives by learning from those of others.