Wednesday, January 04, 2006

People and their Opinions!?

I often wonder why am I not able to seperate people from their opinions? One of the more challenging tasks I face in discussions, meetings or interactions is to look at someone's opinion objectively. More often than not, we make a sweeping assumption that people are defined(and are represented) by their opinions and not otherwise. How do we keep the discussion restricted to issues on hand rather than dragging the personalities involved is a difficult task, deftly handled by a few.

The best debates(and often the most passionate ones) happen when two people can argue on one issue in diametrically opposite directions without any risk that personal equations might get affected. Let me take this issue in a more broader sense. In a team of four, if all the four tend to think alike, then that group is wasted. If people start thinking in different directions, that is when creative ideas sprout. Creative solutions to problems are often not without conflict with other's ideas but the ability to cope up with this conflict and build upon it.

We are all trying to arrive at creative solutions. But then why do we find getting to such a situation so difficult? The answer lies in the fact that we personalize an opinion rather than evaluating the merit of the opinion. We often tend to look at who is making an opinion rather than the opinion itself, and therein we miss the wood from the trees.

To achieve balance is very difficult - something I have to grapple with all the time. However I have come across people like S, H, P, C, O...with whom I can have exactly the type of conversation mentioned above and needless to say, these have been my most memorable discussions so far.

I will strive to the level where I can perfectly insulate the opinion or argument from the person...a typical case of shoot the message and not the messenger!! If this requires practice and reflection, so be it...will find time for it!!