Make friends with those you don’t like

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I normally save my political blogs until Thursday and so, whilst this strays into the subject it is much more related to work. The reason I mention it is because over the last few years I have been over-active on Twitter on the back of the political unrest that we continue to find ourselves in. 

Because of its algorithms the application works hard to send me tweets from people I agree with, along with the occasional one from someone that was bound to get my blood to boil. Even the tweets I disagreed with, had comments from people who thought like me. In the end it had all become an echo chamber, a constant repetition of my own beliefs. I was changing nobody’s opinion and they weren’t scratching at the surface of mine.

I eventually made a conscious effort to engage with people of different opinions. I followed people of different persuasions, some politicians, some cheerleaders for the opposition camp and a few downright obnoxious people. Some of their thinking I found hard to understand, some I believed to be plain and simply wrong whilst others made my stomach churn. What was important, however, was that I became more aware of other’s thoughts and opinions and this is important in that, in the end, I may indeed be wrong.

This is where I come back to work. It is very easy to live in your own bubble and convince yourself that what you are trying to do is right. Surrounding yourself with like minded people may be good for your ego and seem like a good course of action but what if you are wrong? What if the plans that you have laid out are ultimately leading you down the wrong path?

It is better then to include the views of people you don’t normally associate with, those who may have different opinions to you and can challenge the thinking behind your actions. This may mean having to engage with people you don’t like. We all have them in our circle of acquaintances. You don’t have to be their friend but by engaging with them you may be surprised by how much they can contribute  to your thinking. You never know, they may not be as bad as you thought.

We all need to get out of our echo chambers and draw upon the talents and experiences of all those at our disposal, whether we like them or not. As the saying goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

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