Recently I had a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand my tendency to read blogs and books written by people with whom I disagree. Why not focus on everyone who sees the world exactly the way that you do?
Well, many of the writers I follow do agree with me. There’s comfort in spending time with people who share your beliefs and don’t need lengthy explanations about X, Y or Z.
With that being said here are 3 reasons why it’s beneficial to read stuff that ruffles your feathers, too:
1. You might be wrong. I might be wrong, too! There’s value in holding opinions in the palm of your hands instead of in a clenched fist. Occasionally I’ve changed my opinion midstream when the person I’m speaking with introduces me to a new way of looking at the topic. Even if everyone walk away with no changes to our ideas we will at least know how others think.
2. They’re good writers. Knowing how to clearly communicate through the written word is a gift. I’ve winced through far too many poorly-constructed books, blog posts and essays in my 29 years to continue giving them my attention. At this point I’d much rather focus on story-tellers (fiction and non-fiction alike) who know this craft well enough to creatively break the rules.
3. Friendly disagreement sharpens your mind. Disagreement doesn’t always mean conflict and conflict isn’t always bad. Once one begins to temper the urge to always be right there is so much we can learn from examining what it is we believe and why it is we believe it. It takes a long time for me to grow comfortable enough to do this with other people as it can lead you to quite vulnerable places. The list of folks who have made it so far is fairly small (and even they know not to push certain topics) but the rewards are long-lasting.