In numerous ways, we are different from each other. Sometimes our differences are glaring and, as such, may even be threatening to our own beliefs. We see this in religious, political, or in lifestyles beliefs. Or the differences may be minuscule, in which case we view what others say and do as insignificant behavior. In any event, we may prefer to be with people who have similar beliefs to our own. Yet, there is a benefit to seeking out those whose ideations are different. My life has introduced me to a wide variety of people and beliefs, and I find that I have grown and benefitted hugely from our differences and what they have given to me. Without question, I prefer to be with people that are different from me. In fact, I owe much of what I am to them.
WHAT MAKES DIFFERENCES WORK IS “RESPECT” FOR THE INDIVIDUAL, AND THIS MUST BE MUTUAL, EACH THEMSELVES AND NOT READING A SCRIPT ATTEMPTING TO PLAY A ROLE THEY ARE NOT. RELATIVE TO THIS, I NOTE THAT THE MORE PEOPLE I WORKED WITH, AND IT MATTERS NOT THAT I WORKED WITH THEM AS A TEACHER OR A LEADER, OUT OF OUR RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER CAME MUTUAL GROWTH.
This is particularly true when differences are authentic. That is, when being oneself is not an act but real and powerful. As I have said repeatedly, the more real a leader is, the more their followers become real, and real means different, and differences are the most sincere gifts we give to each other.
As a teacher, I essentially taught that people should be present, understand what they heard, and be candid in response. Meaning that they should share thoughts and feelings as they are, not what one thinks the other wants to hear. This did more to bring growth than the typical silence or false agreements. Growth was demonstrated by the differences people began to express when being completely candid. Finally, in most work situations, expressed differences made work safer than homes, where dialogue became our method of communication. Our differences became gifts that do not go away. Our use of dialogue as opposed to monologue was our equalizer.
We are not the same——-But who wants to be the other? ——Not either of us.