Understanding disagreement


Ben Young, serial entrepreneur, speaker, author and founder of bwagy shares daily ideas on his blog in small digestible bites, aimed to make you rethink business, marketing and the world around you. check out http://blog.bwagy.com

Being able to truly understand why disagreement exists.

H.R.H. The Prince of Asturias and Xu Kuangdi, at the Horasis Global China Business Meeting 2008


It’s the emotional pull each party has to their perspective. From their point of view it is entirely relevant. That’s why you’re disagreeing.

Understanding that, pulling it apart, and taking it to a place of understanding is a gold skill.

it is hard though. you have to take a deep breath and separate yourself from the emotional pull you have to your point of view. And look at objectively what does the picture look like.

It can validate your own view but it does help everyone get to a place of understanding.

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  • Wice says

    I believe disagreement is a good thing. It happens because the world is not black and white and thanks heavens for it.

    Take something as simple as the glass half full or empty. Objectively, no one would disagree that both perspectives are correct and that either can have negative or positive connotations - depending on the context. There need be no emotional content. It isn’t even an argument. However, as soon as one party says the other is wrong, the disagreement becomes subjective and the question of understanding each other’s viewpoint becomes relevant.

    But what does it achieve in reality? Does it validate or negate your own perspective to bring about instant agreement. Of course not. If anything, bringing subjectivity to the objectivity of a disagreement can cloud the issue and make it even more difficult to cleanly resolve.

    Understanding where someone is coming from is not the same as empathy. The knowledge can too easily become a tool to manipulate your opponent and be used to attack - “I know these are the figures, but if you don’t do this, it will make you very unpopular and your staff morale will go down.” Or coerce: “I know these are the figures but if you can do this, it will make you very popular and make a huge difference to the morale of your staff, etc.”

    On the other hand, empathy can open a door for compromise that might otherwise not exist. If we are able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and share what they are going through, to respect their feelings, we are more likely to bend to accommodate their needs.

    It has been said “Single-mindedness is all powerful,” and it has also been said, “Empathy is the key cornerstone in genuine human relationships”. Which tack you take in a disagreement is up to you.
  • Anna says
    lol one of my favourite things is 'agreeing to disagree' there are so many times where the disagreement could go on and on and on!! sometimes its simpliler to just let everyone think their right in their own special way =P
  • Wice says
    Right on Anna. It's so tiring to argue. I really hate it. However, when I say "agree to disagree" to to my hubbie his usual reply is "That's only because you know you're wrong!"
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