“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Kurt Vonnegut
I started to say that I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of ‘being soft,’ but I think I recently have been by someone close to me who thought I wasn’t being hard enough on a repair technician that I was dealing with at the time. There are ways of accomplishing a goal without belittling and demeaning or even threatening the person with whom you are engaging. That I do believe.
In fact I think if you recognize and appeal to a person’s humanity, and can inspire their desire to assist you rather than trying to intimidate them into doing so, you will receive greater rewards sooner than if you had harassed and harangued them. I personally am more likely to respond to that approach.
Seriously, in today’s world right now why does everyone, especially in the news media’s focus, have to be so mean and hateful? I don’t understand that aspect of our shared experience.
In a world full of TAKERS why can’t there be more GIVERS instead?
If you had more GIVERS in the current world, there would be less need to be a TAKER, wouldn’t there? If there were more gentleness expressed everywhere by everyone, wouldn’t there be less anger and meanness?
I was listening to Margaret Hoover’s “Firing Line” early this morning and she had Adam Grant as her guest: “Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author who studies how people find motivation and meaning, and what it takes to lead more generous and creative lives.” (wiki)
Grant was talking about the binary choices we face in today’s world (‘my way or the highway’ thinking) and how hard it is to carry on family or group conversations now because we are all so entrenched in our own opinions and mindsets that we have no tolerance to listen to others who disagree with us. We immediately go into ‘attack mode’ to slander the other person’s character, family, and associations.
He said something I found interesting: He said really listen to someone who disagrees with you, and ask them why they think what they do, what evidence they can provide to substantiate that feeling and thought (just listen—don’t try to counter their argument); then ask them if there is any evidence to the contrary that would sway that belief they are espousing.
Meaning that if you can help them determine whether what they are saying is ‘evidence and fact based’ or simply an ‘act of faith’ in who is saying it, then you can help them to define if that ‘belief’—that ‘faith’ that they maintain—is more like a religion than a legal issue, because you can believe what you want to believe about most anything, but that doesn’t make it factual. Would FACTS per se if they became aware of them, ever help them to change that current belief that they hold?
Important here: Just ask them that—don’t provide the actual evidence yourself contrary to their opinion. Just leave it in the air for them to consider. And respect their right to disagree with you. Then see if they start paying more attention to the details of what they currently believe about the issue.
You know TRUTH seems hard to come by in today’s world. And simply calling something TRUTH doesn’t make it so; nor does rallying behind a flag and shouting “FREEDOM to the People” make it a call for justice and equity as much as it may be a cry for anarchy and chaos disguised in patriotic fervor masking a group’s ulterior motives.
Words are just words. Actions can be for the betterment of others or for the detriment of them.
But gentleness in attitude and frequently expressed compassion toward others both go a long way toward making this world a better place to live in and to grow.
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”