A little insane?
The wisest man I know loved to share this parable with me.
And wouldn’t you know it, when I opened up his book to reference the story, it fell open to the exact page I needed.
It’s about a prince who had all the wealth he could ever want. He went to pay homage to a great sage. When he arrived, the prince bowed down before the holy man. Immediately, the sage responded in kind and bowed down to the prince.
The prince was confused. “Why did you bow to me?”
The sage asked him the same question, as sages do.
“Because you’re a great man,” said the prince. “You’ve given up everything to pursue your spiritual path.”
The sage replied, “You have sacrificed so much more. You’ve given up your spiritual path to pursue the world.”
Legend has it that the prince immediately saw the light and his entire life changed. He went on to become the wisest of kings.
Now, I make no judgements about what you choose to pursue in your life, Denise.
My point is that others often seem a little insane to us.
Because they don’t like what we like.
They have different values and aims.
They do things that don’t make sense to us.
We have our own little sphere, and that’s “normal” to us. A little outside of that gets to be uncomfortable. Go too far and you’re in the crazy zone. Insane.
And the thing we forget…
…probably the most important part, in fact…
Is that we all have our own brand of insanity.
But you can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle. So we just assume that our way is the right way…the sane way.
And others are Dumb. Crazy. Silly. Stupid. Wrong.
Is it any wonder why so many people are so busy being offended?
We need to be better at listening.
And we need a crash course in seeing things from other people’s point of view. Allowing them to have their perspective, and taking the time to really understand it.
The great algorithms in the cloud of social media set up a well curated echo chamber. And that’s a dangerous thing because it confirms your rightness before you’ve even heard the other side out.
It shapes a worldview that is hopelessly narrow and limited.
If you ever feel like no one understands you, or like no one is listening, it’s probably because you haven’t taken the time to really listen and understand them. (Side note: There is also a good chance that you don’t understand yourself nearly as well as you think. We’ll get back to this another time.)
I guarantee that as soon as you make them wrong, they’re going to dig in even deeper. Defending their position while they attack yours.
It’s trench warfare of the mind, and we’re all losing because of it.
We can do better.
And you can start today.
Maybe not with your most deeply held hot-button beliefs. But with something simpler.
Gradually allowing more space for others to be who they are, while you do the same.
That will open the doors to a better conversation and more importantly…
The connection we need to create a future we can all be part of.
I hope you’re open to that possibility. Either way, I think you're awesome, . Exactly as you are.