IT may be a curse to wish to have surrounding you only those who admire and adore you and unlikely to disagree with your views; those whose lying eyes never notice the naked emperor. Ask any recently-ousted politician who was surprised by the outcome of a popular vote. They might be cursing the views of the vocal supporters who surrounded them and whom they chose to listen to. While the surrounding chorus of support is uplifting, it is a double-edged sword that deafens you to the weaker voices of opposition and dissent.
The recent examples of impatient and impertinent interaction with others are troubling signs: whether it is with overseas investors pitching a preposterous suggestion, or the mis-categorization of church representatives who venture to express their views like anyone else in society.
Maybe we need the mindset of a mountain climber as we face our opposition, because the voice of dissent may even be coming from our own consciences. Forget about the faith that moves mountains. Recognize the strength and resolve of those who face their inner demons and opposition with calm resolve and perseverance.
Yes, it can be a pain to listen to — and deal with — those who disagree with us. The larger prize, by far, is to listen with patience and respect and without prejudice before responding in a similar fashion. That mountainous effort might just overcome our fiercest of critics.
When we take account of opposing views, we have the opportunity to reflect and discover why we were wrong, and change our views. We also have the chance to convince our reasonable opponents why they may be wrong, and change their views! That is a no-lose situation because either outcome results in a stronger, truth-oriented position. Whether building software or consensus, the same is true.
The true test of ourselves and abilities lies in how we face the opposing crowd. In any case, it is worth noting the disconnect between volume and truth. Truly, one man with courage makes a majority.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.