October 2, 2020 7:00 am Published by

Do you have an open mind?  

One of the things I find myself grappling with is the lack of openness to changing our minds these days. One of the privileges I have in the work I do is to help people work through healthy conflict.  

It’s interesting being from Minnesota that even the term “conflict” causes many people to struggle. The reason, I believe, is because some think of conflict as fighting, personal attacks, painful and results in a winner and a loser.  

Healthy conflict does just the opposite. It is the opportunity to create a space for everyone to be heard in an unfiltered, respectful, and sometimes passionate way for the entire expression of their opinion. When it happens, we are hard on the issue and soft on people. However most of us haven’t experienced enough healthy conflict to be proficient at it and resort to back channel ways of avoiding tough conversations, which actually perpetuates and amplifies the problem. 

With the state of our world in 2020, our resilience is low, our fatigue is real, and emotions are often at the surface resulting from a lack of connection.  

Some would argue our new virtual state has robbed us of that connection.  

To a degree, it’s true; especially on a physical level.  

In other ways, perhaps in ways we could benefit from considering, maybe our virtual state is revealing how disconnected we truly are as people. Even before our pandemic changes, perhaps we were here, it’s just being revealed to us in its full imperfection. 

Connection is a commitment, like anything.  

When we look at the polarization of our world right now, it’s easy to see how social media has segmented us, fed us more of what we want to reinforce in our views and surrounded us with only those people, tidbits and news which reinforces our existing perspective.  

It’s easy to believe that’s all there is. Having an open mind requires you to challenge your own and others’ assumptions. It doesn’t mean you have to abandon them, just challenge them enough to consider other views.  

When we can’t do this, we all suffer and are left with anger, hurt, frustration, disconnection, separation, fear, attacking, disrespect and rage. 

Sound familiar? 

I am filled with hope every time I witness someone open enough, kind enough, thoughtful enough and vulnerable enough to question their own solidly held views resulting in new thinking. It’s rare these days.  

Can you imagine a world where this is the norm?