Right And Wrong Are Reflections Of Each Other - Grasshopper
Right contains wrong and wrong contains right, and if you think too long about it, it’ll make your head spin.
It’s hard to imagine that your position contains the opposing point of view too, but they are twins from the same mother.
When you recognize that you are related to an opposite view, you begin to look for solutions rather than cajole, fight and stew.
If you walk to the edge of either position, you’ll arrive at the other.
Right and wrong are fluid positions, not forts that need defending.
When you stake your claim to right, everyone else with another point of view is wrong. The fight that never goes away is one about positions.
Positions negate solutions.
When you only fight for right, many are wronged. And if you think about the last time someone made you wrong, you’ll notice how much righter you got, and how little you wanted to cooperate with them.
Rarely do we consider if something another is proposing is useful if we deem it to be wrong. We overlook the workability of something if it doesn’t fit into our ideological box. This box is the same box the other has; it just has a different label.
Right and wrong are equally useless in getting to a working solution.
One of the silliest, right/wrong questions ever asked is: “Does the end justify the means?” Yes, sometimes it does. The difficulty is that you would never get to that solution if you held onto right and wrong.
Imagine two armies fighting a battle that has been a standoff for years and years. Each believes they are right and the other is wrong. Now pretend that the two armies exchange uniforms and take each other’s position. There is still a standstill. The positions are the same; they’re just dressed up in another suit of clothes.
If your position is in concrete, you can’t get closer to the other side. So your war is about solid positions rather than solutions.
One of the best communication skills I learned is called “The Agreement Frame.” I first learned it from Tony Robbins back in the 80’s. It works like this: Each person is to argue back and forth with a partner about an issue. One person is for it; the other against it. After about 3 minutes of arguing, you are to switch sides. Then both are to argue fervently for that which they were against just moments before.
The key that makes this exercise work is that you are not allowed to say the word “But” or any of its cousins like “However” when presenting the opposing point of view. Instead of “But,” you are to use the words, “Agree,” “Appreciate” and “Respect.”
If you were arguing against the superiority of left handed people, you couldn’t wait for your partner to say their piece and just interject “But,” and then go on to give your position as to why lefties were inferior. You had to agree, appreciate or respect what they were saying before you went on to give your position.
We were also instructed to use the word “And” instead of “But” after agreeing, appreciating or respecting another’s point of view. That’s because, as a society, we’ve been conditioned to stop listening after we hear “But.”
It went something like this: After the person arguing for left-handed superiority made their point, the other would say something like: “I agree that most left handed people are convinced they are superior AND if you look at the data from the independent research firm ‘Limbs for a Brighter Tomorrow,’ you’ll see that your data is outdated.”
The lesson you learn from doing the exercise sneaks up on you. I’ve conducted it in countless seminars since, and every time people report coming away with a finer appreciation of what the other was communicating.
That’s because they have to carefully listen to what another is saying in order to agree, appreciate or respect it. If they just could get away with saying “But,” they wouldn’t have to listen, only wait for their opportunity to reassert their position in the same way again, which never goes anywhere.
The sooner we move away from the positions of right and wrong, the sooner we learn one of life’s least taught lessons: The less right we are, the less wrong we become.
All the best,
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