Challenge People

Posted on Aug 14, 2019


This post introduces an arbitrary topic on which I changed my mind, mostly through own reflection. I intend to exemplify my pet theory: I could have changed opinion and landed in a more desirable situation much faster if my original position had been challenged more by my social environment.

An exemplary change of opinion: Messaging

Previous position

I vividly remember claiming that messaging people one doesn’t talk to on a regular basis was pointless, as long as there wasn’t a very specific topic to discuss, which required a lot of groundwork to be laid out already. The generally low priority that messaging is suffering from as well as the hindering nature of typing seemed like valid culprits of low bandwidth. Said bandwidth was reason enough for me to believe that nothing meaningful would come out of it. In other words, my perspective was that such messaging often started off great but had inevitably been followed by neglect, typically bilaterally, causing a net negative due to unmet expectations.

Current position

My assessment on the effect of sheer signaling has changed. I now think that expressions of attentiveness can be richer than previously assumed. I still think that many conversations die a slow death of drying out, with ever-increasing off-sets between individual messages. And I still do think that that is negative, as it indicates a mismatch between some expectation and reality.

What has changed is that I no longer believe that such a scenario will most likely be a net negative. I think the initial excitement can trump the downside of what might come after.

Meta observation

Quickly did I realize that my initial position was unconventional. Subsequently I had been adamant about finding out whether people or I were wrong. As a consequence, I frequently brought up this claim among peers. People mostly made slightly skeptical, partly alienated faces. Still they did not voice or express any concerns or doubts. Out of at least 20 people I presented this idea to, a single person challenged it.

Now, years later, I changed my mind.

My point is not about messaging. My point is that as long as you grant the assumption that the change of opinion is progress and progress is positive, one clearly benefits from having the flaws entailed in one’s ideas pointed out. Laid out as explicitly, it really does seem like a no-brainer to me. But maybe, yet again, I’m wrong. If so, I’d like to know. :)

Challenge your dear ones. Not doing so is not caring. It is wasteful.

Props and thanks to Théo for challenging this post.