November 2, 2018 - Issue 18-43

Good afternoon  ,

This is sort of a follow up to last week's mention that political dialog has become poisoned, often even downright nasty.

Many times respectful discussions of differences of opinion have been replaced by angry shouting matches. One person belittles another because their opinions differ. 

Let's say the discussion is about an issue that some people take for granted (e.g. climate change, whatever side of that argument you're on, or religion). Someone seeking truth, and questioning widely held beliefs, may be treated as a pariah. 

The fact is, there is evidence to support both sides of such an opinion difference (or perhaps a position different from both sides - most things are not black or white). Why shouldn't a conversation about it be civil and constructive? It seems that, increasingly, it's anything but.

Here are a couple of articles addressing ways to make yourself more respected by: 
Mending fences after you've "blown up" (by Deborah Grayson Riegel). (Of course, it's better not to blow up in the first place.) 

Both of these articles address situations at work. For me, everything both authors say can be taken to any exchange, be it at work, in a social setting, or any other place where people interact with each other.

Higher Learning?

What follows may seem a bit off-topic. I'll come back in a minute to explain how I see it relating.

The "education" system in the U. S., and much of the world I think, has become a system to indoctrinate students with certain "accepted" ideas and opinions. It's common in these institutions to officially ridicule, or even ban discussion about, any thought which challenges the "company line".

I have a question! If truth is to be sought where is it more appropriate to do so, and question "established" opinion, than in an institution of higher learning? When colleges and universities actively discourage open inquiry into things that matter, I think we're headed in a very dangerous direction.

And of course, since most colleges and universities are funded (and therefore influenced) by governments, they deliver and reinforce pro-government ideas. If you'd like to know about a place that has bucked this trend for over 170 years, check out Hillsdale College. Hillsdale has never taken a dime of government funds, and the Socratic method is alive and well there.

It seems to me the tendency for people to engage in nasty arguments whenever their opinion is challenged comes largely from the "education" system. Instead of teaching students to think, as it should, it teaches them to accept and not challenge the establishment position. 

Would you like to have people see you as pleasant and positive rather than as an angry "sourpuss"? People are more likely to consider your ideas if you take to heart the advice in the two articles I mentioned earlier (being positive, and repairing relationships bruised by an angry outburst).


John Stevens


Care to discuss anything I've written here, or something else? Let's do it...constructively and respectfully.

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About John

Throughout a career spanning over 45 years my management style has been one of building teams to bring several competent people together to focus on a common objective. I noted early in my career that, in most organizations, there is an enormous amount of time, energy, and effort wasted by people working at cross purposes.

As I transition to life in the Argentine outback, my focus shifts from coaching to helping other business coaches and advisers get their message out to their prospective clients. With my first-hand knowledge of the benefits of effective business coaching, I am uniquely qualified to work with business advisers of all stripes convey their message.

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John B. Stevens, Freelance Copywriter

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