TED Conversations

Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.


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Part II: When, How and Why have your most strongly held views changed?

A week ago I asked How, When and Why people have changed strongly held beliefs.

The answers were exceedingly rich, even as they were given embodied both personal and interpersonal examples of lived and, indeed “living,” in-situ transformations. Far from detached or observational, discussants expressed deep nuance about themselves and persistently engaged with others of diverse ages, perspectives and geographies in vibrant co-reflections.

There were, as human conversations go, divergences and occasional disagreements. These and the sustained connective momentum throughout the thread demonstrated energy and passion for the topic – and, in many ways, each other as co-stakeholders of sorts in mutual self- and other discoveries.

As these unfolded seeds of this follow-up question were planted and coaxed. A call to continue, perhaps even deepen, the dialogue was made.

So, lets.

To orient this phase, consider these questions:

1. If you engaged in or observed the first conversation: Did your view of changes you’ve made evolve in any way due to the discussion? If so, what was the impact of others’ voices you heard in the conversation on your changed views?
2. How, when and why do we notice our truths converging with others? And conversely: how, when and why do we notice our truths diverging from others?
3. How can self/other discoveries wherein both agreements and disagreements are dynamically engaged – as they emerge -- be meaningful, transformative or productive for both/all?

I’m eager to see where this “go-deeper” conversation goes.

Many thanks, again!


Closing Statement from Andrea Morisette Grazzini

When I posed this question I expected the momentum of the original conversation would carry-over a multidimensional chorus of "inner-voices," as participant Lindsay referred to it. Momentum was certainly achieved.

What of it was constructive is more complicated to discern.

Of the three questions I posed to orient the topic #2 elicited the most visible energy. What came though clearly was the effect of reactivity as a powerful conversational contagion. In this case, translated by much difference and divergence.

The evidence of this lies mostly in what can’t be seen.

First is the absence of numerous comments that no longer remain, traces of which are hinted at only by notations they have been “Removed.” These dialogic divergences featured escalating exchanges that catalyzed more, devolving into various and accumulating personal disparagements.

Second is the absence of unknowable comments. One wonders what might have been offered, were it not for ever-present off-topic tensions.

At several turning points various participants engaged with some success to redirect to the topic. As they did new, richly textured voices offered stories and fresh perspectives on how change has and can occur in transformative ways for themselves and with others.

By the broadest definition: what remains, what’s been retracted and what hasn’t been said all amount to relational change.

It’s critical to note which have been reductive, rather than constructive to the ideals of the conversation. Herein lie complicated answers that are perhaps nearly as powerful as those so clearly expressed.

I'm grateful for those who persisted by modeling, inviting and engaging with diverse, dimensional dialogues here. Their presence was a powerful example of how counter-contagions of support can scaffold shared ideals and intent when unproductive behaviors threaten to topple progress. And give example to constructivist-style, dynamically construed paths to new views.


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    May 4 2011: It's always interesting to read what other people think/believe about a particular subject and how they react/respond to it. What makes it interesting, first off, is the degree of one's openness and acceptance of another's point of view (POV) and more importantly the degree of attachment to one's OWN POV.

    Depending on this, mostly I notice my own "truth" converging with others when I find that their POV is on the same lines as mine, if not on the exact same track. (THAT would make me lu-hurv the other person!). Conversely the divergence happens when either the POV is different from mine or the conversation that starts in my head is "this guy/woman is out to get me and prove me wrong" - i.e. when I perceive a threat to me/my POV. The underlying belief has to do with the human (crazy) penchant for right/wrong; is/isn't; should/shouldn't, etc. This, of course, could start a whole new debate about "THE Truth", therefore I shall move on to the next point :D

    From where I stand - self/other discoveries wherein both agreements and disagreements are dynamically engaged – as they emerge -- CAN be meaningful, transformative or productive for both/all. This can happen on the fertile ground of maturity, self belief and high self -esteem. Even if we go back to Richard Berne - I'm OK, you're OK does lay the ground for the above. Maturity allows for an expanded horizon and the ability to look at multiple POVs. Self belief allows for putting forth one's own POV with conviction and relate it to other POVs in-depth. High self esteem allows for being able to accept that a) my POV isn't the only one; b) My POV holds lesser depth than another's and c) If I let go of my POV, it doesn't mean I'm small or stupid.
    Once these 3 are in place, that's when my listening becomes keener, my analysis deeper and my application more authentic, thereby making the discovery lasting and meaningful for myself - and if I can share it - for others.

    That is MY POV. Interested in what others have to say.
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      May 4 2011: Very well said Shaluu:>)
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        May 4 2011: Shaluu,

        This so nicely articulates, to use your lovely phrase, "an expanded horizon" POV.

        And I think maturity is a good way of identifying the level of character development that allows interpersonal change to to be co-produced. That said, I have a preference for the term wisdom.

        My reasoning here is that maturity is often associated with adulthood and age -- something that can be attained fairly easily and chronologically. Maybe even something assumed with both.

        Wisdom, on the other hand, doesn't confer age as much capacities for empathy, insight and the ability to embrace complexities of self/other. Certainly life experience, education, etc. often weaves into ones font of wisdom, and yet don't we all sometimes witness exceeding wisdom among children, people of little education or even narrow life experience.? Wisdom it seems, in my mind, somewhat more natural, less linear.

        I'd add that intentionally seeking maturity is one way to practice wisdom. Speaking for myself, when I've fallen flat on my face for some untoward or immature act it is a good reminder for me that I need to mind my maturity ideals. Wisdom, I think, would lead me to forgive (or even chuckle) at my mistake if it was unintentional, if nothing else, so I don't fall apart from the guilt of knowing I've failed again. Wisdom, then, allows both self and other move forward in constructive ways.

        To bring this back to your comment and go somewhat beyond, can you isolate any specific story that leads you to your POV here?

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          May 4 2011: @ Andrea RE" Wisdom, then, allows both self and other move forward in constructive ways.

          the way you have framed that is such a handy useful daily in the moment guide to measure our own thoughts words and eeds..in the moment..and hopefully before we speak, even as we frame ourselves to listenn.
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          May 5 2011: Thanks Andrea, and yes, Wisdom would be a richer expression than Maturity. It encompasses what I'm saying and is not limited by demographics :)

          And there are so many incidents that converge to lead me to my POV here. Let me pick a few -
          I've a passion for photography and in my earlier Avatar where I wasn't good enough, one critical word from someone was enough for me to pack my camera in and not click anything for months together. I would also pick up a fight with/isolate myself from the individual. Then, as wisdom, self belief and self esteem came in, I saw that i'm listening to their POV on my photographs and giving them my take on why my photograph was shot the way it was. I also saw that I'm taking their feedback and trying it out the next time. If I like the result, I'm tucking that away in my long term memory. If I don't like the result, I'm going back to my own method!
          In the last organization where I worked, a colleague and I would be at loggerheads most of the time. One day invited her to hash it out and we discovered a mutual love for flawless, quality results. We agreed to complement each other's strengths and to agree to disagree where it mattered. Most importantly, we chose to drop our pre-conceived conversations about each other and ours became a team that delivered in any circumstance!
          Another one has to do with an acquaintance of mine. She and i share mutual friends. In my POV she has an issue with anyone who she perceives to have authority. According to my friend, she's just someone who's vulnerable and therefore abrupt. I used to get very annoyed with her and since looking at her world from my friend's POV, I see myself as accepting her the way she is and the way she's not. I'm also calmer now when she shoots off her mouth and don't react as I used to earlier. This gets her to calm down when she's around me now!

          So all in all, I see higher productivity and better relationships when we accept multiple TRUTHs and allow our POVs to be malleable.
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        May 5 2011: Thanks Colleen :)
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      May 4 2011: Thank you Shalu..hadn't seen this when I responded above to Richard saying the same thing ( but not so eloquently as you have here). I believe that closed systems of exchange ..systems where people talk within a community of shared vaues or beliefs) are a great danger to freedom and growth and to a healthy vibrant community. The more we interact with others, especiallyothers who don't share our views, the more we grow to a higher ground that is about himanity..alabout living from and into all we say we believe about respect, compassion, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Thank you Shalu
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        May 5 2011: Thanks Lindsay. I agree with your "the more we interact with others, especially others who don't share our views, the more we grow to a higher ground..." comment.

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