With topics I know moderate to large amounts of information about, I still try to keep an open mind. In these situations, I take one of two paths:
One path is much like areas I know nothing about; I inquire and ask questions of the other party.
Admittedly a tiny part of this is to test their knowledge. But the much bigger reason for this practice is interest in how they’ve gathered their information and came to their conclusions. I’m curious about their thought process. I’ll agree with some of their statements and views, and politely acknowledge and disagree with others.
The second path I might take is one of a rousing game of back and forth banter.
...depending on the topic, the company and their demeanor. More often than not in these encounters, I’m engaging with a person who holds entirely different views but they are of a mind to come to the table and have dialogue with people of other ilk. These are my kind of people. The people that are open to discussion and dialogue. Neither party coming into the interaction with the sole intent of changing the other person’s mind, but with the opportunity for an authentic engagement.
I am aware enough to know that I don’t always have all the facts when I made those opinions or beliefs. This means when I’m presented with new information, I will listen openly.
I am open to new information that will potentially change my views or actions in most areas. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a backbone or opinions or beliefs. I very much do. But I am aware enough to know that I don’t always have all the facts when I made those opinions or beliefs.
This means when I’m presented with new information, I will listen openly. Sometimes I’ll incorporate the information into my own and other times I’ll deem it as unfitting. But the point is I’m open to change.
This includes changing my intentions into actions.
Over the years I have encountered organizations that struck me as highly valuable. With these encounters I would mentally acknowledge all the good they had done for (insert: humans, animals, the planet…pick your poison [or antidote in this case]).
Following my mental acknowledgment of respect and appreciation for an organization I would tell myself, “I’ll give to them someday”. How much? I did not know. When? I did not know. But I bookmarked both questions for future deliberation and future action.
In some ways, this is all well and good. Stories crop up in the news from time to time about a person passing away and donating all their wealth to causes they loved, leaving people who knew them shocked they possessed such wealth to begin with. You know the stories I’m talking about. While I doubt I’ll ever get to that caliber of giving, I like the idea of leaving the world a better place in a few key areas.
And I guess I liked the idea of a larger contribution. The belief that larger contributions make greater change is true. But what if that contribution doesn’t actually come? Life can end suddenly. If you don’t have your will in order designating a portion to the causes you hold dear, those very causes aren’t likely to get your money. Or, in another situation, maybe you do live to the point where you do make a large contribution all at once. I don’t want to discount the service that a person does by this act, but my question would be this: speaking to all those years of you holding and having that money, yes it’s being used now for its intended purpose but what was wrong with it being used for its intended purpose slowly and steadily over those many years you so diligently saved it?
“Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today”
- Benjamin Franklin
Remember where this article started? It started with the opportunity of changing my mind in the face of new information, or at least a new way of doing things. That’s a whole lot of winding talk that leads me to this: I’ve changed my mind.
I don’t need to wait for some distant future time to start making an impact in areas that are important to me. Crowd funding and micro-donations are showing themselves to be powerful forces. I have the capability to make small, consistent donations now. Hell, I can make donations by automatically deducting from my paycheck. I have the ability to take action now on something I had planned to do later. This is new information to me, and I’m choosing to use it.