As a society – we tend to not be accepting of things we don’t understand. Others beliefs, lifestyles, ideas, and so on. Is it based on fear? Are we inherintely afraid of what we do not understand? Why do we shy away from what we can’t explain – or the things we may not agree with? Wouldn’t society be a much more harmonious and ‘connected’ place if we opened up a little and made an effort to educate ourselves on the entire spectrum, instead of becoming ‘experts’ in one narrow way of thinking? Why are we intolerant of difference?
Seth Godin had this to say on the topic of Demonization:
The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.
So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.
How does this relate to us as bloggers, writers, and entrepreneurs? It comes down to opening up and establishing connections. Being transparent (for the most part) as a blogger is absolutely critical in order to connect with your audience and community. If people don’t understand YOU, they won’t care what you have to say. It takes courage to open up and allow yourself be challenged. You may not agree with everything your community has to say, you’ll likely be faced with criticism along the way, but a writer is nothing without an audience, and a diverse array of opinions makes for an interesting read and much more engaging discussion. The more open you are, and the more you try to understand what you currently do not, odds are – you’ll become much more accepting and you’ll wonder why you hated it or disagreed in the first place.
As entrepreneurs and business people – establishing connections with your consumers is what can and will separate you from the rest. Example: If you open up a coffee shop, will you ever be able to compete with the Starbucks of the world? Probably not, but what you can do is take the time to connect with your community of consumers. Service goes a long way – and it’s important to form intimate connections. Why? It adds to the perceived value of what you’re selling. If people believe in you, if they trust you and understand you better – the support will come naturally. Relationships are the foundation of good business practice. Making money and achieving desired results are, of course, extremely important. But it all starts with a ‘hello’ – it all starts by reaching out and letting people in.
What is something you disagree with? Think about an idea or belief that you don’t understand. Research it, talk to people, engage in discussion. Write about it, blog about it, talk to your friends about it – get a conversation going. Share your own thoughts but remain open-minded – each of us can benefit by becoming more transparent. Insight and knowledge create awareness, understanding, and even compassion.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” Maybe if we all take time to get to know one another, maybe it we took of the ‘pants’ that restrain our beliefs, the world would be a much better place.