Here’s an exercise for you:

Think of a topic that you have strong opinions on. It could be about a government policy (e.g. How do we address tax reform?) or, perhaps, a philosophical principle (e.g. What does it mean to be successful?). Think of all the reasons you believe what you do.

 

Now argue the opposite side.

Obviously, to do this, you will need to pick a topic that is largely unresolved wherein there are reasonable arguments on both sides. However, it should still be something that you feel strongly about.

http://ProCon.com is a good resource to find and research topics if you are struggling to think of a topic or find it difficult to imagine the opposite argument.

This exercise is extremely useful in learning empathy and critical thinking skills, two attributes that, I believe, we are in desperate need of in this time.

Now imagine this:

The next time you are debating an issue with a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger, you are not concerned about “winning” the argument. Instead, you approach the situation as an opportunity to expand your understanding. You both concede to certain points, and you both leave the conversation with a more nuanced view of the issue.

Getting into this habit is, in my opinion, the best way to expand your mind and begin to develop and more complex view of the world.

Thanks for asking. I hope that this has provided you some value.

Do you have a question? I’ve got some answers. Submit your question it to Ask@MikeSpeer.com or Tweet it to me @MpSpeer

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