Sometimes I have a hard time choosing which podcast to listen to while I do the dishes. I scroll through the list and nothing seems to catch my eye. There are a couple that I can just listen to at any time because the interviews, even though they are often with someone I have seemingly little in common with or interest in, are always interesting. They rarely leave me feeling like I wasted my time. Tim Ferriss is one of them.
Yesterday I listened to this one https://tim.blog/2018/08/07/the-tim-ferriss-show-transcripts-ann-miura-ko/
Here’s the part that really struck me,
“Ann Miura-Ko: So, it’s funny. My husband said to me in the past – and this is a lesson that I continue to try to learn and relearn – is that life is not a debate. And you know what he’s saying – and it’s funny. He was a debater as well in college and in high school and we joke that I would still have beaten him in high school if we had actually gone head-to-head. But, I think it’s a really important point that life isn’t about winning the argument. And he’s also said to me in the past, “You know, it’s not about being right.” And I think that’s so true and it’s something that I’m always trying to really practice in life and I think the debater in me makes it really hard. The things that you’re pointing out or what’s important about it is that people have a tendency to have an inner dialogue where they’re right. And instead of really listening to the other person, they’re coming up with the next argument that proves that person wrong. And so, if you go back to what I really loved about debate what I felt like I got out of it, it was actually this ability to see both sides of an argument, to really delve into a topic and understand why the side that I actually naturally believed could actually be flipped on its head. And that was a really important skill to develop and I think that was so much more important to develop than the skill to argue for my side. Because, I think in the world today, what we don’t see enough of is empathy for people you might even disagree with. And we get stuck in our version of truth and what is right and we aren’t truth seekers any more as a result. We’re truth winners.
Tim Ferriss: That’s very true. Yeah. Very true.
Ann Miura-Ko: And that’s a piece that really makes me sad is that when people are like, “Oh, this debate skill is so great to have because now you can ram people with your ideas.” And I’ve never seen a situation where you shouted people down and convinced them you are right. And I’ve seen situations where by developing true empathy for the other side, you actually create bridges and you create commonality, and you create situations where you can actually work together. And I think that’s the piece that I would take away from my debate experience. I would say actually making the person cry in cross-examination probably is not the skill that I should be using in real life, although maybe sometimes I do.”
Lessons learned? Find empathy for the people you disagree with. Shouting people down doesn’t convince them you are right.
Why does that seem to be so difficult these days? Why is “bullying” people into submission seem to be the only social skill we are really good at?
It seems everyone’s answer for getting the world they want to live in is to vote for a law to be passed or a person to run things and then put anyone who disagrees with the majority’s choices in a cage until they obey.
There seems to be no interest in empathy. Some people will give it a try if their adversary is just slightly wrong and the effort doesn’t seem to be too much to take on. But on the big things, the contentious, life-altering things, those things we’re not supposed to talk about at parties, there are few people that want to know the real why’s behind their so-called “enemy’s” thinking.
Why is that? Why are we all so interested in winning a game instead of seeking truth? Why can’t listen and try to understand and communicate instead of fight and win?
There is just so much to learn out there, so many people to communicate and connect with. I feel like I’m limited only to people who think like I do. If I express an opinion or point of view different than you, you block me, yell at me, or shut me down. That only makes me resentful and more set in my opinions, without the opportunity to learn or change them, or at least to know and understand another point of view.
How can we change this? Ask questions? Answer them honestly? Assume positive intent?