As of this morning, the possible swing states are still counting the 2020 election votes. We knew this would happen. Why? Because back in the spring, when election officials planned for the fall, they thought the virus would be gone by now. Or, that we would have a vaccine. Or some other rosy prediction.
Note to self: I definitely need to write a post about how too few people respect risks and risk management. (Insert maniacal laughter here.)
Here’s what’s clear about the current state of the election: We have a split, if not polarized, population. I suspect that’s because we rank very high, if not highest on individualism as a cultural dimension.
As a culture, we love thinking we can “go it alone.” Or “Pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.” I particularly like, “You can be anyone you want to be with enough perseverance.” I bet you can think of more metaphors and cliches that speak to the power of the individual.
All these metaphors and cliches share a problem—they’re insufficient.
Every single one of us needs a support system. We need support from our families, our friends, our colleagues, and more. If we don’t have support from one of these groups, we might be able to use other groups to help us.
For any significant endeavor, we need other people to work with us.
That means we need other people, united for a common goal. How do we do that?
We need to first approach other people as if they have hearts and minds. And, to remember they are not stupid. We need to respect their positions before we attempt to change their hearts and minds.
Respect Other People’s Positions
In Who or What Deserves Your Respect, I suggested that we need mutual respect to have a reasonable relationship. I said we need to extend respect, even before receiving respect.
I used to think I only needed logic. As soon as I showed people the error of their thinking, I would win them to my side of the argument.
I was so naive.
As I said before, we need hearts, not just minds. That means we need to lead with empathy.
I’ve said before I fight to build my empathy skills. That’s because I start thinking “all” I need is logic.
I suspect we need to address people’s fears before we can unite on any goal. We especially need to address their economic and pandemic fears.
For example, we have a bifurcated economy in the US. Last year, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019 reported a median salary of $68,703. That means half the population earns less than that number. If I earned that little, I would worry about the economy. (I worry about it anyway. However, I’m not in danger of losing my home or not having enough to eat.)
What about pandemic fears? In the US, our new cases continue to increase every day. We do not have “control” over this pandemic.
We might need to address more fears before we can unite.
Empathy allows us to create and form a support system for each other. For me, empathy starts with congruence. How can I balance the self, other, and context?
The question this week is: How do we unite for a common goal?
- What’s Distracting You?
- Who Decides on the Value of My Life?