I’m noticing an odd trend. Hopefully I can articulate it well enough to make sense.

I’m seeing more and more people become defensive of their ideas or their image.

When someone:
  • provides a contrary point
  • states something disagreeable
  • simply pushes back
they are seen as:
  • a “hater"
  • as insecure
  • as negative
  • small minded
Many are personally offended. They feel attacked. And I don’t believe that those are the intentions of the “offender".

There is an inherent danger to living inside of an echo chamber. Different points of view do not equate a negative mindset. While we all appreciate genuine optimism, disagreements should not be seen as someone raining on your parade. That is where the danger lies. If we solely surround ourselves with those that continually agree with us, we begin to form a false sense of correctness. Some may even have the tendency to think, “If they agree with me, I must be right."

The medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides wrote, “Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it."

Even though I’m not talking about any truths per say, the quote still applies. The inherit power or value of your idea (brand, story, whatever) doesn’t change because someone agrees or disagrees with you. In fact, I think more push back often means that you are reaching a greater audience and/or striking a chord among those within and just beyond the reach of your words.

Learning requires rethinking. Even if that rethinking makes us uncomfortable, we are bound to be better in the end. And I’m not implying that to rethink is to change one’s mind. On the contrary. When we take a moment to rethink our own convictions in light of another’s push back, we are often reminded of why we think and feel the way we do.

Open mindedness is two way. It’s give and take. It requires patience and humility-not only for others, but for yourself.

What do you think? Push back.