Beliefs drive behaviors, just like goals do. Our beliefs tend to drive how we choose to see things and thereby create a heavy dose of influence as to why we are at odds with people with very different beliefs. We just see things differently – rooted in our upbringing, environment, experiences and influences.
Presidential races…so much fun, or maybe not. Ever see a Facebook post by one side that changes the opinion of someone on the other side? Doubt it. Ever see someone verbally attack another person who is diametrically opposed in their beliefs on, say, some light-hearted stuff, like politics, religion, and climate change? Doubt it.
Our son, Mitchell, came home from work the other day and told us about an interesting conversation he had with his boss. A good guy, by the way – they both have high respect for each other. He and his boss were “discussing” something political – don’t know the specifics. Generally speaking, I think they are actually on the same side, though Mitchell doesn’t necessarily see himself on a particular side. He is more inclined to learn from people, rather than debate people, with different views. But I’m not so sure his boss shares the same open-minded attitude. So Mitch, who is 17, respectfully offered this challenge to his boss:
Go find someone with whom he is diametrically opposed in all major areas – if he’s right-leaning, look for someone left-leaning; if he’s a Democrat, look for a Republican; if he’s pro-life, look for someone who considers themselves to be pro-choice – you get the picture. Only, that’s not the challenge – pretty easy to find that. The challenge is to find the person, engage them and genuinely search to find one thing, just one, that they both share in common. Find the 1% and focus on that. Build a discussion around that. Maybe they both like animals or enjoy seafood or perhaps enjoy a good microbrew. Maybe they share a birthday or TV interests or perhaps a sports team they follow. There’s always something.
It was a great challenge. And in fact, when he shared this with me, it made me think of a John Maxwell Principle he offers in his book called Winning with People. It’s called The 101% Principle: Find the 1% we agree on and give it 100% of our effort.
Wow. Mitchell has never read a Maxwell book, yet he nailed a Maxwell leadership principle completely on his own.
Maybe we should accept this challenge.
Find the 1% and build on that.