Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Don’t Understand You, Therefore, You Must Be An Idiot

Hubris. It is one of my new favorite words. While the word has been around a long time, it seems to be a trait more evident than ever on the world’s stage.

What does hubris mean? Well, depending who you ask or where you look, the basic definition means “arrogance” or “pride,” often in the extreme.

One way I see hubris demonstrated is when a person says, “What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense to me. You’re wrong.”

Think about it: each of us looks at the world a bit differently. Often, what we understand and believe is based on our experience and education. When our beliefs are challenged, we go with what we know to try to understand it. Sometimes what we understand, and what is presented to us, are in direct conflict.

What do a lot of people do in cases like this? They immediately jump to the conclusion that they are right and the other person is wrong. To me, hubris is directly related to how quickly someone will dismiss an idea or concept counter to what they believe.

My wife is an amazing person. We’ve been married for over 22 years now. We’ve learned a lot from each other. One of the biggest things I have learned as we’ve worked on home improvement projects together is that there is often more than one way to do something. At times, she will be convinced that one way to do a project is different than what I had in mind.

I’ll admit earlier in our marriage I’d get frustrated because I thought my way was better. But I learned to swallow my pride and we’d try things her way. And you know what? In doing so, I discovered my way wasn’t the best way after all. To be fair, sometimes we learned my way would have been better, but we wouldn’t know until we tried.

In the end, I’ve learned that when I take a moment to consider a new idea, and try to keep an open mind, I’m more willing to consider it as viable.

Still, there are things I won’t budge on—like many of my core religious beliefs—but I’ve discovered that when someone challenges them, one of the worst things I can do is state, “I don’t understand you, therefore, you must be an idiot.” 

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