It’s All About the Viewpoint | 123Read&Write

An educational blog entry about looking at arguments from the other person's point of view.

I'm fairly certain we've all been here; see if this sounds familiar. You're in an argument (pick whatever and whomever), and low and behold, you're convinced you're right! Didn't see that coming did you? When we get in a rift with a loved one or a coworker, for the most part, our ego gets in the way from allowing us to see "reality". Are we right in every single disagreement? No! Are we right some of the time? Probably. However, the key is when we fight tooth and nail for what we believe is the "right way", we cause our bodies and minds a great deal of stress. As studies have shown, stress breaks down the bodies immune system making you susceptible to becoming sick. As we teachers all know, we have to fight enough germs in the school day; we don't need to tax our bodies with undue stress, as well.

Well, I'd like to say this strategy will be easy to accomplish; and for some, it may. However, letting go of our ego and seeing things from another person's viewpoint and acknowledging that they actually may be in the right is no easy task for most people. Let's do an example many educators can relate to. It's no secret that many wealthy and fairly influential people have chimed in on how we can improve education in our country. I'm the first who is ready to argue tooth and nail that it's none of their business. Leave education to educators and so on. Now, remember I said this strategy can be difficult for a while. By attempting to see other's viewpoints, I have come up with a few points that others may have in wanting to get involved in education. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with all of them, but at least I'm attempting to challenge my own point of view for a bit. Maybe . . .

a. jobs are becoming more technical, so education needs to adjust to keep up with the changing times.

b. as there are more single families, parents need additional choices on where to send their children to school.

c. parents are afraid to send their children to certain schools, so they seek a better education for their child elsewhere.

Think back to an earlier post where I referenced Stephen Covey and his 7 Habits for Highly Successful People. Well, that is all I'm really doing here. One of Covey's principals is "seek first to understand". I'm simply trying to see another's point of view before I quickly make my own judgements. It certainly doesn't mean that you're backing away from your core beliefs, but you are willing to hear the other side out, to see if their viewpoint holds any merit. Another huge benefit to this strategy is that whomever you're in disagreement with will feel that you value their input, allowing for a more productive discussion to take place. Then, neither side needs to get defensive; because when that happens, nothing will ever be accomplished. 

As we know, human beings are entrenched in the "fight or flight" mode. If we feel threatened, we often attack or simply flee the situation. Disagreements are no different. Try looking at the issue from the other side, before stating your case. You may be surprised with the results.