If there is one thing I learned building bicycle frames; it is that no two people are alike.
If you could assemble a hundred people, all the exact same height, and then further separate into groups those with similar leg length.
You would find within those groups, the thigh, lower leg and foot measurements would all vary.
Even within the same race, people have different facial features, complexions, hair color, etc. When you consider all peoples, the variations are infinite. An individual’s finger prints are unique, and now we know that DNA is too.
Most people accept these differences and seldom question why. Therefore, it really should be no surprise that people’s opinions will vary even more infinitely than our physical differences.
What are opinions but a collection of thoughts, based on our individual beliefs and experiences? Sometimes called a “Point of View,” meaning literally, the world as one individual sees it from where they stand.
No two individuals can have the same view if they stand in different places.
In spite of this we sometimes argue and fight defending our point of view, or try to impose our opinions on others.
We accept every other difference in the human species, why do we expect the thought pattern of others to be in line with ours? We are each a free thinking spirit, and I can’t think of anything more random that a person's thoughts.
Could it be because our opinions are the yardstick by which we view and evaluate the world? It is how we judge situations and other people. Our opinions have been formed largely by our life experiences, our parents, teachers and other pivotal people in our lives.
Our opinions can change over time with changing circumstances; if we find a better one we change it. However, at any given time our opinion is the best it can be. We just can’t understand why anyone would have a different opinion, after all, ours is the best.
It is not the difference of opinion that is wrong; it is the failure to see that the other’s view point is from an entirely different place.
It is the single most cause of conflict between individuals, co-workers, friends, and families. On a larger scale, it is the basic reason nations assemble armies and go to war with each other.
I have found that defending one’s point of view is just a huge waste of time and energy. It achieves little; rarely does either side move any closer to the other’s way of thinking. Often it drives the two sides further apart
Instead I find it more constructive and fruitful to listen to the other’s opinion. Another’s estimation is often difficult to understand and may even arouse aversion.
But by the simple act of listening I am able to better understand the other's point of view without the obligation that it has to become my point of view. I may not necessarily see the other’s view, but I may see the position he is standing that gives him that view.