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July 22, 2019

Please note that our Learn, Share, Grow series will continue as a bi-weekly posting until further notice, in order to provide the best quality learning you deserve.

Below is a lesson from TED Talk on how to disagree productively, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.


How To Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground

By Julia Dhar

TED Talk


Key Learnings:

  • People who disagree most effectively is by finding common ground no matter how narrow it is. The way you reach people is by finding common ground. Separate the ideas from the identity of there person discussing them, be genuinely open to persuasion.
  • Debate requires that we engage with the conflicting idea, directly, respectfully, face to face.
  • Find common ground by identifying the thing that we can all agree on and go from there — shared reality, the antidote to alternative facts.
  • Listening to someone’s voice as they make a controversial argument is literally humanizing.
  • Engage with the best, clearest, least personal version of the idea.
  • We spend so much time dismissing ideas as democrat or republican; rejecting proposals because they came from headquarters, or from a region that we think is not like ours.
  • Our conversations and disagreements can be transformed by debating ideas, rather than discussing identity.
  • Debate opens us up to the possibility that we might be wrong — the humility of uncertainty.
  • One of the reasons it’s so hard to disagree productively is because we become attached to our ideas. We start to believe we own them and therefore they own us.
  • If you can imagine stepping into the others’ shoes, you embrace the humility of uncertainty — the possibility of being wrong. It’s that humility that makes us better decision-makers. Intellectual humility.
  • Intellectual humility — people who are able to practice (and it’s a skill) intellectual humility are more capable of evaluating a broad range of evidence, are more objective when they do so, and become less defensive when confronted with conflicting evidence. (Duke University)
  • Once you start to think about what it would take to change your mind, you start to wonder why you were so sure in the first place.
  • The principles of debate can transform the way that we talk to one another, to empower us to stop talking and to start listening, stop dismissing and to start persuading, stop shutting down and start opening our minds.