We all get stuck in rigid views, judgments and ideas from time to time. We have our version of reality and we project that reality onto others and the world. Sometimes a fact is a fact, but many times we can’t see past our own experiences and interpretations. This rigid thinking cuts us off from others and the possibility of seeing things in a new light, or at least understanding and empathizing with those who see things differently. And that leads to division, blaming and unnecessary strife.
A simple trick I learned from James Altucher* helped me to step out of this trap and I think it could help you. Whenever you voice a strongly held opinion, simply challenge yourself to change the punctuation at the end of the sentence from a period to a question mark and say the opinion out loud, first as a definitive statement, then as a question, including the upward lilt we all give a question at the end. For example:
“Barak Obama should legalize marijuana.”
“Barak Obama should legalize marijuana?”
Feel the shift in your psyche as you make this subtle change. Suddenly you open up to other possibilities. You can see things from a different perspective, even if your view doesn’t ultimately change. And most times it won’t; that’s human nature. But you will feel less rigid and less judgmental of others who see things differently. You will be more empathetic and feel less separated. We all see the world through the tinted glasses of our own experience. Try uncertainty for a little while. As Rumi wisely said, “sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” You never know what new things may slip into the cracks of your beliefs.
Give it a shot. I mean . . . give it a shot?