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Guidelines for focusing on learning

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 24, 2003

We went through some diversity training at work recently. The woman who came into speak with us gave out the following set of guidelines for learning:

1. Release the need to be right.

2. Welcome one another’s thoughts and opinions.

3. Suspend judgment.

4. Listen for understanding, not rebuttal.

5. Make personal statements by using “I” rather than “you”.

6. Clarify first what was said before you challenge someone.

7. Take time to reflect.

8. Lean into discomfort.

9. Respond first to what was said before making your point.

10. Have fun.

I was immediately struck by how much I see people not doing any of the things on this list. Religious leaders, politicians, the media, the pro-life and pro-choice advocates, environmental advocates, and just about anyone calling themselves a pundit. We’re all just yelling at each other, attacking, formulating strategies, so sure of ourselves and our convictions that it isn’t even worth listening to anyone who disagrees. No one cares about learning or understanding and progress is measured in opposing viewpoints that are averaged out into solutions no one wanted or can even understand the value of. What a sad state of affairs.

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