Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Read things you disagree with

Read things you disagree with.

Talk to people you disagree with. Try to understand the thought process. Being a better person doesn’t mean shutting out that which unbalances your life. Being a better person requires growth and input.

Constant growth is so important. I think old people think they are smarter and wiser. Sometimes yes. Often though I think we go through life trying to become more and more entrenched in our worldview, just trying to reaffirm what we already believe.

And people who are older than me get set in their ways, believing their experience is enough to justify themselves. But it’s not. Sometimes the young people are smarter than you. Sometimes they can do things better. And sometimes they are our peers.

I say our because I am guilty of this crime. I have few years, but I leverage every single one as if it were a currency. I should listen more to not just my elders, but those who are younger. And I don’t like I should. I dismiss them based solely on age.

This doesn’t happen often, but it happens enough. And we don’t call it discrimination; we call it qualifications based on experience.

Sometimes the most qualified individuals have the least experience. There are few opportunities in life for us to test that theory. And so often we fail to see our own hubris.

There is an ingrained mental imagery of a ladder that we all climb. And everyone starts from the bottom rung. And we climb it slowly over the years.

But maybe that’s crap. Maybe we start at different places and some people get jetpacks. Maybe talent is not just based on experience but a wide array of factors. Maybe equality is a lie fed to us while some struggle up the ladder and the people in jetpacks wait at the top.

The moral? Age certainly gives us all experiences. But those experiences should not be used to justify negative behaviors or discrimination. Merit is a fickle thing tainted often by undeserved privileges. Being a better person is understanding that there is always work to be done, and even when you are an expert, space remains infinite and your journey is but one in the 13 billion year history of the universe. Be humble and open.