Too Comfortable to Disagree

“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”

– Frank A. Clark

Acutally, I think that we grow as a result of both agreement and disagreement.

Recently, I was training a group to develop their coaching and mentoring skills. At the end of the day, we asked each participant to share their “take-aways” with the group. Quite a few expressed relief that the techniques they learned during the session reinforced what they were already doing. They needed the comfort of confirmation. Their self-confidence grew. They will continue to gain skills and grow – to the extent that they resist staying comfortable.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

It is natural to seek agreement. It is unnatural – for most of us – to seek out a different point of view. The opposing argument. The other side of the coin. We fear the unknown. We resist change.

The problem comes when we seem to reach agreement too quickly. Have we looked at all of the possibilities? When we are too eager to see things turn out right, have we overlooked what could go wrong?

“When there are two people in a business who always agree, one of them is unnecessary.” – William Wrigley, Jr.

I enjoy participating in trade association meetings. I get to satisfy my need to be around people who share a common goal. My core beliefs. But I also enjoy the opportunity to grow as a result of “managed conflict.” Seminars and conversations that challenge my point of view. My perceptions. My comfort level. That is how I learn. It’s how I evolve.

“Difference of opinion leads to enquiry, and enquiry to the truth.” – Thomas Jefferson

In my experience, the companies that fail to evolve – to manage the growth of their business – are those that do not seek out opposing points of view. They don’t challenge themselves. But they like to complain.  They are not interested in exploring other approaches to their business They yearn for a return to the way things used to be. The good old days. And they are usually absent from association meetings.

“Conversation means being able to disagree and still continue the discussion.” – Dwight MacDonald

It’s great to seek out comfort. Enjoy it. But don’t cocoon. If you are interested in growth – personal or professional – seek out opportunities for disagreement. Join a sharing group, seek out networking opportunities, participate in your industry association meetings. Find a comfortable place to disagree.

“The reward for always listening when you’d rather be talking is wisdom.” – Anonymous 

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