Bold article title, right? But it's something I've wanted to tackle for a while and I started thinking a lot about what's been going on in the world lately, and got the inspiration to interrupt my physics homework and write this. Let's be honest, the world is more broken than ever right now. There's so much violence, division, and hatred and it sucks. No one seems to get along and everyone just attacks each other for their opinions on practically everything.
I'm not sure how to tackle the roots of all the problems in the world right now, but I know how to solve the problems that stem from talking about the solutions. It sounds ironic, but half the world's issues could probably be solved much quicker if we just approached them differently.
We have to start being respectful of each other and quit jumping into conclusions about a person based on one thing that they've said. I used to be like this, so I know exactly what it feels like and I can see why people make a habit of it. I used to get so mad about everything that was politically problematic and I was constantly making generalizations about anyone who had a slightly different opinion than I did. I would attack their character instead of questioning their opinions and encouraging a productive conversation, and it was so unhealthy.
I think this is where the issue comes from, and I think it's the reason we have so much tension when we try to discuss and solve the big picture problems. A lot of times we can barely get to the issue everyone has an opinion on because we're so busy attacking people for the things they say that are different from what we say.
A lot of this comes from the Internet. If I can tell you one thing, it's that you're probably not going to change anyone's opinion by trolling in the comments and sharing your opinion on why you think they're wrong. In fact, you'll probably do the opposite. If you just spend time telling people why they're wrong, they're only going to get defensive and you'll be further from convincing them why you're right then you were before you even reached out to them. Spending time trying to convince others on the Internet by telling them that they're wrong isn't going to make much positive progress. Trust me, this is coming from someone who used to spend a whole lot of time in the comments section under people's opinion posts with absolutely no progress.
I'm in no way saying that you shouldn't talk about these big issues on the Internet, especially if you're passionate about them. It can be a great way to make connections with people you agree with, it can provide opportunities for you to work on the changes you want to make, and you can use it to educate yourself and others. Just make sure you spend more time focusing on the message you agree with as opposed to arguing with people you disagree with.
The next step is to facilitate positive conversations. This means you have to be open-minded. I'm not saying you have to pretend to agree with something you honestly don't agree with just to keep someone happy. Instead focus on understanding the argument and where the other person is coming from. It can help you learn about how people think, what's important to them, and what they think the solution is. You may not agree with them, but talking with people who think differently than you can help you gain a broader understanding of the issue from multiple points of view. You can ask them why they think the way they do, but ask in a way that expresses genuine curiosity of how they interpret the issue instead of trying to make them feel bad or stupid because they don't agree with you. Having discussions with people is what is going to help us understand an issue from multiple perspectives and help everyone gain an understanding about how we can compromise to make the world a better place for everyone who lives in it.
Remember to argue like a person you would want to argue with. Spend time focusing on the opinion instead of the person delivering it. Keep an open mind, but stand your ground. Try to understand the issue from their point of view, and ask them questions about it. People like to feel understood, so use that to your advantage. People are way more likely to reach a compromise when they feel like their opinions are valid and being heard.
We're all going to have to work together if we want to reach any point where we can shape the world into a safe and comfortable place for everyone. Know that it's not the reality that you'll get everything you want, and that we all have to be willing to work with people who have different opinions if we want to make any sort of change. Be open to others and let them know that they're being heard. And recognize that although everyone thinks differently about everything, their opinion is still valid. And if you can't seem to listen to their opinion without ripping your hair out because you think they're a total nutcase, then maybe don't tackle deep talks about solving the world's every problem with them.
If we want to make things better, we're going to be open to working together. There's no way we're all going to be able to all agree on a positive change that we all fully support. We all have to make sacrifices to move the world in the right direction. You've probably expected people to compromise with you, but it's a two way street and you need to work with them too. If there's one thing we can probably all agree on, it's that the world is pretty freakin' broken right now, and there needs to be some sort of change. So lets focus a little more on making those changes and a little less time worrying about changing people's opinions. We can make things better for everyone if we all just put in a little more effort into trying to work together and shaping the world into a place that we all feel safe and happy living in.
The change starts with YOU, so first listen and then take action. Hatred and fighting isn't moving us anywhere. It's time to speak up and make changes while being respectful and open-minded. Let's be the ones that push for change instead of pushing to get people to agree with you on everything. Let's move past the issue and on the the solution.
Here's to the world changers!!!