“At the end of the day, everything is extremely complex. I guess I’m an idealist… I don’t have clear-cut positions. I get baffled by things. I have viewpoints. Sometimes they change.” – Annie Lennox
And people’s points of view will certainly change.
And, yes, sometimes when you change your point of view it is contradictory to what you may have said, and possibly even stated fairly strongly, in the past.
I say this because a lot of people get their panties (or boxers/briefs) in a proverbial wad when someone changes their mind.
I say ‘so what’.
I am not suggesting that your position on things should be shifting like a windmill in a hurricane but, in general, changing your position is okay.
Not just okay … but good.
It shows you are maybe listening.
Shows maybe you are adapting.
Shows maybe that you are not so opinionated that you are stuck with an unchanging perspective in a constantly changing complex world.
Maybe even shows you are … well … human.
Why do I say all this <beyond the fact I am just being a contrarian>. As Annie, a smarter person than I, said upfront … it is easy to get baffled by things … it is easy to get baffled because life is complex. Oh. In addition to the fact that there are … well … a shitload of facts on a shitload of issues floating around in the every day world. My point? Keeping track of everything, and knowing what you should know <on everything> is difficult even if not impossible.
Let me make a point of a ‘position.’ Nowadays everyone seems to have an opinion <or position> on every decision or action anyone is making, thinking of making or is even in the realm of possibility of making. And every decision and action is actually like a pebble in a pond. The difficulty is many people focus on the pebble. And create their position/opinion based on the pebble (ignoring the ripples). But that is probably a different post for another day.
Back to changing your mind.
Sure. Some things shouldn’t change … stealing is bad, killing is bad, stuff like that. But that is kind of obvious.
I tend to believe the key to this discussion is ‘an unchanging core’ versus ‘changing perspective’.
People <I included> like some consistency. Especially consistency in character and actions. It’s the kind of thing that engenders trust.
On the other hand … changing one’s perspectives is … well … is about changing attitudes. And it makes people more interesting. Heck. It may even lead to changed behavior. And that makes life more interesting.
And you know what?
It is the same in business.
I believe many people in business are scared to change their position because it may show some sense of not standing for something. And, yes, I wrote scared.
If you ever want to see a bunch of people freeze, deer in frickin’ headlights freezing, watch when someone says something in a meeting like … “but you said this before” … or “when I look at some of your past work I don’t see what you are talking about.”
People are scared to say “that was then and this is now.”
For some reason people are scared to say “I know more today than I did yesterday.”
Why? Because the fear that it doesn’t show consistency.
And, yet, in today’s business world constant change <some would call it inconsistency in actions> is imperative for success. And, frankly, it is imperative if we ever want to move away from the same old shit.
Business, politics and even sitting at the bar with friends … doesn’t matter … we all change our positions … and it is silly to not do so for fear of looking silly … or the fact someone may not think we are consistent … or for any reason for that matter.
If you have any doubts about what I say read the following from Walt Whitman.
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
~ Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Maybe the people who are willing to change their positions and points of view are larger than people who don’t?
Maybe it is just the fact that each one of us contains a multitude within.
Maybe it is just being self aware enough to know you don’t know everything.
Maybe it is being strong enough to understand that changing your perspective will change people’s perspective of you … and that is okay.
Maybe it is … well … being enlightened.