There is no shortage of chaotic or polarizing examples in the world at the moment. Climate change (believers versus fake news pundits), Brexit (leavers versus remainers), impeachment (accountability versus a witch hunt) or the rise of extreme left and extreme right politics.
Surviving, never mind thriving, within such extremes can be difficult for many. Discourse can descend into arguing and labelling. In some cases, worse still, into physical aggression.
So, what can we do to cope?
While there are many coping strategies in such cases, I will focus on a couple of them here.
- Recognize that there are many perspectives in any situation
- Recognize that change will only follow when we first understand each of the other perspectives
You’ll discover in my book that I believe each of us is a product of our environment. Ranging from values, beliefs, experiences, fears, and dreams to opportunities. Our view of the world is the sum total of each of our own life moments. So, by extension, there are many other possibilities through the infinite combinations of life experiences!
Extend this idea to other possible perspectives and views. Only by understanding these perspectives can we hope to understand another! It is in this understanding that exists the possibility for change. Changing one’s long held belief can be a priceless gift for personal growth. You don’t have to take my word for it, just look at the momentous changes in civil rights over the last 50 years. Consider the dreadful time where it started – when African Americans were segregated or same sex relationships criminalized. The conditions would not have been broken were it not for the bravery of those willing to engage in discussion suspending their own prior beliefs or prejudices.
Your next step in thriving through chaos..
The first step to thriving in a polarized environment is to listen and understand. Only then should you consider trying to influence change!