Change your mind to grow your mind.

When was the last time you had a rousing conversation with someone who saw things from an entirely different perspective than you?

If you are like most, it might be difficult to pinpoint the exact date, but I would venture to guess it was some time ago.

Now, juxtapose that with, when was the last time you had a rousing conversation with someone who sees the world the same as you? 

My guess is you could likely pinpoint the exact date.

Why the difference?  Simple…like likes like.

Three words that can, with great accuracy, determine where you will be in 5 years.

Choose it as a growth tool and you can immerse yourself in a world of knowledge, perspective and opportunity; choose instead to only seek out others with whom you will find only commonality and you will stifle your thinking, limit your network and, in all likelihood, limit the opportunities available for you.

Don’t Limit Opportunities

Making a conscious choice to put yourself in situations where you can engage in conversations about differing viewpoints, then spend all your time trying to win the argument does not challenge the quality of one’s thinking nor the ability to speak confidently.

Making a conscious choice to put yourself in situations where you can engage in conversations about differing viewpoints, with the intention to learn something, challenge an existing (self) belief or make a concerted effort to understand another’s perspective, will always make you a better communicator.

If for no other reason, you are not constantly thinking of the next thing you have to say to trounce the other person’s ideas.

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a lady I had just met, who would occasionally say, “Isn’t that interesting,” in response to something I said.

Later that evening, I was thinking about those three words and decided I liked how non-judgemental and open they were.  At no point in the conversation did she say anything that would lead me to believe she disagreed with something I was saying, other than “Isn’t that interesting.”

An Interesting Thought

A few weeks later I told my wife about the interaction I had and how these words left such an indelible impression on me.  We had a great discussion about different approaches and strategies that foster and build relationships.

Responses such as, “Tell me more”, “That certainly has not been my experience”, “I see things a little differently”, “Not sure I can wrap my head around that”, just to name a few, let others know you may not agree with them, yet invite them to continue with their train of thought.

This approach suggests a level of open-mindedness to listen to ideas that we may not necessarily agree with, with a willingness to understand not everything is black and white.

The more you are willing to acknowledge what they are saying, and that they have been heard, the more they will seek you out.  The more they seek you out, the more you will expand your thinking, your network, your resources and your opportunities.

Last night at dinner I was telling my wife Gimalle about a new business venture I was contemplating investing in, she put down her fork, smiled coyly and said, “Isn’t that interesting.”   

Till we read again.

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