When asked, most of us would say we’d like a conflict-free day where we can get our work done and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end. I’ve come to realize, however, that conflict is often what helps us move forward to new opportunities.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our routines and find comfort in them and feel content when things work smoothly. But it’s the spark of divergence that can lead to new insight and open doors into worlds we hadn’t even thought about.
When having a disagreement with someone, it’s easy for me to tune them out as I’m thinking about my rebuttal while they’re still talking. I become so enmeshed in making my opinions known and “proving” that I’m right that I can give little regard to their thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, if the other person is doing the same thing, it leads nowhere and neither of us is truly satisfied with the outcome.
We talk about diversity and inclusion and, again, I think most of us realize it’s the best thing for all of us, but do we really appreciate that diversity really means variety? Are we really saying we’re fine with diversity as long as it doesn’t change or vary our lives? If so, we’re missing the point.
We need to start really listening to each other and remembering that there is more than one way to accomplish most things. We would never have achieved the advances in science and technology if people hadn’t been able to look at the world differently. By working together and coming to an understanding or at least some empathy for different viewpoints, we may well be able to find new paths that neither of us had envisioned.
I’m going to try and truly listen to others and see if I can gain a better understanding of their perceptions. I’m sure I can learn from this and try new things. I’m going to look at conflict as an opportunity to learn and try to embrace the opportunity rather than shy away from it.
If we refuse to see conflict as an enemy, maybe we can truly embrace the possibilities it provides.