Remaining Unconvinced

Why Converting People Isn’t In My Job Description Anymore


“Every creative act strives to attain an absolute status; it longs to create a world of beauty to triumph over chaos and convert it to order.”
– Rowan Williams

One thing that used to annoy me to no end was when I would present people with an idea they found useful and then when I started explaining the underlying principles they’d zone out.

Yesterday I had this experience again. I laid out a proposal for what I thought was a something worth looking into. A potential fix to an earlier question he’d asked about for his business.

He said something like: “It’s an interesting concept. I just want to make it clear that I’m not interested in the philosophy of or fixing the world’s problems.”

In the past I would’ve countered with the obligatory: “Well, let me explain to you precisely why that’s the wrong attitude.”

“Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong…”

What I was proposing is something I firmly believe will be the future. The technology for his business to “fix the world’s problems” isn’t in place yet so I understand him wanting to be practical and focus on the here and now. I just believe it’s going to happen.

Instead of getting frustrated I just said “Alright” and moved along. Maybe he’ll have tremendous success and create a great business. His ambitions are still way better than what’s going on right now and I feel privileged to have had the discussion.

To be honest I felt a little disappointed but at the same time I can focus on finding the person who’s interested in the philosophy and fixing the world’s problems instead.

Righty tighty, lefty loosy!

It’s not in my job description to try and convert people anymore. It’s about finding the people who share my values and want to create the same kind of world.

It wouldn’t be practical to only have dreamers or only have critics. We need both and they need to have the same core values.

If I would’ve started arguing and trying to show why his view of the world is somehow “lesser” to mine it wouldn’t have been productive. It’s the same as if somebody would come up to me and say: “Hey, you know that thing you so firmly believe in? What if I told you it’s bullshit? Let me tell you the TRUTH!”

I find comfort and solice in the things I believe in. They are tools for me to navigate through the world. Who cares if they’re real or imagined? As long as I don’t use it to hurt myself or others, then what’s wrong with it?

Let’s go disco, bebeh!

“But it’s not TRUE!” some might say.

Well, maybe not but is it useful? What possible good can come from pulling the carpet underneath my feet? Sure, we can say that we don’t agree and present another view of it. But to say that something is “wrong” and forcing people your view on them? How would that make you feel?

Maybe we could try a gentler touch, show the alternative? Then, if they want to know more we can guide them along. If they say “No”, then we don’t force them. We find the next person and ask them instead.

My view is that we need science as much as religion, logic as much as creativity, reality as much as imagination.

If you want to exclude one for the other? Sorrynotsorry, but I’m not that interested either.

Why you gotta be so Rude Dog? Ye, throwback for you 80’s kids!

What experiences can you remember about people forcing their beliefs about the world on you? Did they ever work? Why? Why not?

Share your thoughts in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!


Originally published at blog.zacscy.com on June 1, 2015.

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