It’s been some time since I wrote about anything “philosophical”. This is mainly because I found myself forced out of my comfort zone, I would say, trying to see perspectives of people who radically think different than me, and suddenly all of what I thought didn’t matter that much thus didn’t write any more about it. But eventually, I learned something I want to share. Maybe possibly the last one of my “philosophical” topics before I switch gears to just talk about my hobbies and practical learnings about them.
So, why did I pick such a sensationalist title for this post? Ha! in a way as an internal joke, but also, to catch the eyes of people who think I write stuff as a way to do self-glorification and tell them they’re right. Y’all won! I saw it, I agree!. Though, I’d say is not completely true, at least not intentionally. I really believed I had arrived at nice conclusions about thoughts and wanted to share them, but in the very end, I did what most people do: Try to validate their way of thinking. So I would be very happy when someone agreed with me and felt “uncomfortable” when someone disagreed, even if in the end I was seeking for the satisfaction of winning a debate.
During the latest 3 years or so, I’ve been going through changes of all sorts. I gained one particular insight: Don’t feel offended by anyone’s way of thinking, no matter how distant from yours it is. Nobody will waste their time trying to show you something if at least they don’t respect you or want to see you improve or succeed.
This should be an intuitive thing, especially in a mature society. Many decades ago, people used to feel offended by sharing space with others of different race, so feeling offended by someone who thinks different is, in my mind, just another level of the same impulse. By removing this self-imposed barrier, I was able to enter worlds that were “forbidden” by the unspoken rules of the society I used to feel part of and finally visualized and understood points of view of the ones whose attitudes made me feel annoyed or offended. And that is precisely the insight that is so hard to get. Suddenly, these individuals were no longer my enemies, people who must be evangelized with my ideas, but rather peers, and I even felt ashamed of feeling offended instead of taking their feedback.
I have a story about it. In 2010, I used to work in a body shop, a company that sells labor to the US tech market. And once I realized that was not the place for me, I tried to quit. To my biggest surprise, who else but the CEO of that company tried to convince me to stay and took me out for lunch. Lunch was good and we had a nice conversation, but when I told him my personal plans, he gave me and advise that I took very badly. I thought he was making fun of me and my intentions and got extremely offended by it. A week after that, I quit my job feeling very upset, I thought that person was selfish and evil! After a long while, when I tried to execute on my plan, I realized the advice actually made a lot of sense! He was not trying to make fun of me! And so far it has been the best advice I’ve ever got. This person was genuinely trying to help!
And as a side effect of it, I realized that the best way to grow is to try and angle what makes you feel offended instead of being defensive, put it into perspective, this is extremely difficult sometimes. That is truly taking yourself out of your comfort zone, incorporating new information that you haven’t considered. Not doing this, will always be pleasant but will not help you incorporate anything new to your mind, you will just box yourself in a world of self-validation.
So next time you’re around someone whose ways make you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself: Why do I feel this way, is there something I can learn from this?
With this, I conclude my post, which is a goodbye for me broadcasting my philosophy and saving it for those who come to me for advice.
Hope this helps (with a big laugh to myself).