Is it true that schools now contract police during Debate Classes because each party to the debate is so intense; so confident that they are correct, that if they don’t win the debate or get the other side to accept their views, violence will break out? Has the United States crossed the line where each person or group of people feel that their opinions are the only right ones, and that everyone else who doesn’t agree is dead wrong?
How do problems get solved when everyone thinks they are right?
It is difficult to imagine someone being a pragmatic critical thinker while lacking the disposition to question in a deep way. It was Socrates who first acknowledged the fine art of questioning to explore complex ideas, inspire new thoughts, seek higher truths, and find new answers. Asking inspiring questions opens up significant issues where we all are better able to face the plethora of problems life has challenged us with. Asking the difficult questions, without bias, helps us better evaluate our own beliefs; and allows us to actually value competing ones without having to ‘fight to the death.’ The Socratic method of asking high quality questions provides us all the opportunity to analyze logical implications of our thoughts; to ask questions in a systematic, disciplined, and objective way to solve the many problems society faces – especially those that are job-related.
My question, “Why does everyone have to be right?” is a question that I believe needs to be systematically pondered in an objective and disciplined way. It appears to me, that the severity of problems that this country faces today requires swift answers (and action); and this can only come about by COLLABORATIVE analyzing and assessment of the multitudes of options, COLLABORATIVE valuing of differences, and COLLABORATIVE exchange of ideas (beliefs) to reach the best decisions. This means seeking a middle ground and balanced solutions.
Each must value all
We must accept that each of us must value all of us; and all of us need to value each of us – and genuinely listen to one another! Why does there have to be a right or wrong? Why can’t we all be right just in the pursuit of better answers to solve grave issues that face us all… regardless of who comes up with them?
If we all think we are right, than who is, in truth, right? And why is being right so important? Shouldn’t we consistently challenge ourselves and others to seek a higher truth by asking new, provocative questions to challenge our own limiting beliefs? Isn’t that how we got to the moon; iPods, and cures for Small Pox and Polio?
I guess a good question is… when will the citizenry (and leaders) of this country stand up and start to ask quality questions without having to yell, berate, and intimidate others? Maybe another good question might be, ‘when will we stop listening to the voices of division and tune in to voices of unity and collaboration?’ Socrates said, “I’m the smartest person in Athens because I’m the only one who admits that I don’t know anything.” Who do you know who can say that about him or herself?
I know… many feel we are a resilient country and the problems we face today will somehow resolve themselves. “We have overcome in the past; and so we will overcome in the future,” I often hear. I sometimes get blasted on LinkedIn when I ask a question like: ‘Can you name one major institution in America that is actually working well today?’ When I ask these necessary questions, I am occasionally called negative, or a doomsayer, or a fatalist. But I am a student of history and common sense. So if I may, let me pose my final question in this blog. Will it take another 1861 and 620,000 Americans killing Americans before we realize that maybe we have not been asking the ‘right’ questions lately; and maybe we aren’t as resilient as we think we are?
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach. Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill). His website is: www.jayblock.com.