“I like to connect with like-minded people.”
It’s a refrain I often read & see from invites in online platforms.
It’s also the wrong way to think about connecting.
As long as we’ve been walking around, ruling the world, we’ve been hungry for connection.
We hunger for people who think like up, look like us, walk and talk like us, eat like us, are like us.
To pursue this goal is to pursue sure disaster.
Look around right now (this is published 4.15.20; if that means nothing to you, look it up online).
The world is in an extra-ordinary unprecedented modern time because some of the powers that be (read: “leaders” of nations) are surrounding themselves with like-minded people. People who will tow the same line as the leaders want, not push back or challenge the status quo. They’ll go along to get along, because they think it moves them forward. They find familiarity in doing so and that’s where the danger comes in. Hook, line and sinker.
And therein lies the massive problem: like-minds are redundant and regressive.
Connectors are not like-minded people: they seek variety and difference of opinion because they know that’s where the learning and growth happens.
Connectors are leaders. They want to refresh their vantage point, every day. They want to surround themselves with people who are multi-faceted, have their own thoughts, will do their own thing toward a common vision. They absolutely DON’T Think alike.
They encourage and engage in robust productive debate. They respect each other fundamentally knowing that varied voices create progress and constructive change. They Align where it matters and diverge elsewhere, because they know the shared vision can bring them together. They trust they can find a way. And then they find it.
Here’s a great article by Judy Ringer on how to have a difficult conversation to get you going.
Seek different vantage points, seek differently minded people and have robust respectful conversations. Learn how to have a robust respectful conversation. Learn to listen, learn to pay full attention, learn to call out BS and supportively challenge those who don’t seek progress for the good of the whole.
Like-minded isn’t the connectors way.
Differently minded, respectfully grounded, civilly robust conversation is the way.
A shared vision within diverse-thinking people is one thing; like-minded is another.
The more we drop the gloves of self-preservation and connect on a human to human level, one interaction at a time, the more we will come together – because we’re building on a foundation of respect and candor that moves us toward the common vision.
Do that, my friends. That is what the world needs. Connect with differences and variations and altogether unique world views. Then have a conversation. Productively flourishes in the environment that supports honest fruitful and lively discussion.
THAT is what will improve the world today. And you are the perfect person to do it.