Are You FULLY Leveraging Your Freedom To Dialogue?

Problem Solving Starts Here!

Listen, Dialogue, Research, Think

As many of you know, I’m living in a part of the world where many freedoms that I once took for granted – don’t exist.  -Now don’t get me wrong I agreed to move here, to seek first to understand and to learn.  So I’m not complaining.  …But I absolutely must share what I’m learning.

Have you ever considered that…

  • In countries where sharing research and opinions puts liberty and lives at risk – citizens are being taught that it is safer not to think
  • In countries that allow freedom of speech, traditional journalists have done so much of the work for citizens – that we’ve allowed ourselves to become lazy thinkers
  • Dialogue is a way for us to seek truth, gain new perspectives, build relationships, and solve problems
  • Dialogue is also a freedom that many take for granted

Not long ago I watched a TED Talk by Margaret Heffernan titled The Dangers of Willful Blindness, in that talk she said,

Freedom doesn’t exist if you don’t use it. 

Within the same 24 hours: I watched several family members and 2 friends, use their freedom to share their political views on Social Media.   Three posts from 3 separate people, that live in 3 different places.

And then watched as some people expressed frustration at another political post, while others leveraged their own freedom to respond.

There was lots of talking, lots of defending and not much listening:

  • One discussion ended with threats of no longer doing business together.
  • One ended by several people unfriending each other.
  • All three sounded hostile, and involved some of the following: name-calling, cursing and passive aggressive behavior.

On the positive side:

One of those discussions eventually turned a bit more positive, as people participating in the discussion took more time to show respect for the values of those they were dialoguing with, and then encouraging them them to read particular articles and think.

Another unrelated discussion started between friends.  And from the very beginning of the discussion most people paused to pay respect to the people they were dialoguing with and then challenged each other’s thoughts with new perspectives and more articles.

Those that are starting a conversation or responding have taken the first step in leveraging their freedom.  

The second step is learning to:

Hear the Biography, not the ideology.  — Agape, via A Free Listening Project

That second step becomes even more critical when you consider the following:

Have you ever read conflicting articles that report the same events with such entirely different perspectives that they don’t sound like the same event?  …And then you aren’t sure what to believe?

This article emphasizes how Social Media has disrupted the truth.

In a biased world that is not fact checked – WE must to learn to listen, research, dialogue and think!!!

Yes it takes time, energy, courage, and humility.

(And to be honest there are times my brain feels it’s been through a blender!)

But thinking will fuel your intellectual growth.

It will help you uncover truth.

It will grow your compassion.

And it will help you solve big issues at a root level instead of a surface level.

You can start by asking this question:

Will you tell me your story?  I’d love to know how you came to this point of view.  -A Free Listening Project

To become even better at dialogue, these are great resources:

  1.   How to listen when you disagree.  From A Free Listening Project
  2. A TED Talk that encourages us to be a scouts instead of warriors.  

Think about issues that divide us

Special thanks to:

  •  Tony Vengrove for sharing the article about how Social Media disrupted the truth.
  • Erin Schreyer for sharing the article from A Free Listening Project.

Image Credits:

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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7 thoughts on “Are You FULLY Leveraging Your Freedom To Dialogue?

  1. Love your article Chery and the call the action you ask of all of us!

    Being open to different opinions and perspectives is sometimes difficult but most definitely can be overcome. I think your point about facing fear is critical. Asking ourselves honestly why we feel a certain way is a launching point to understanding our inner beliefs. I can barely speak about this topic as it is so so decisive.

    Thanks Chery!

    • Thank you Terri! It’s been an interesting journey – I’ve been writing about the importance of dialog since early 2013. But in the past year my focus on that topic has intensified. Each time I think, ok – I’ve spent enough time on that, now I need to focus on something else – I witness more conflict or discover more data and the urgency grows to encourage people to think deeply and have purposeful conversations.

  2. I love this call to action Chery! This point is so very important: “…traditional journalists have done so much of the work for citizens – that we’ve allowed ourselves to become lazy thinkers.”

    I actually think it’s even worse than that because real unbiased journalism is hard to find yet we relate to our preferred channel as though they are speaking truth. That makes it even more important for all of us to do the work. Dialogue creates an opportunity for learning and if we can’t depend on the news we better start depending on each other. Personally I’m tired of interactions that rely on nothing more than sound bytes spewed as facts, often proven wrong, that we have all heard ad nauseum. Democracy is indeed hard work. It’s time to do the work as citizens and stop pretending we are victims of our politicians because we as citizens have fueled the current political machine by abdicating our personal responsibility to our democracy. I include myself here…time to make some changes and dialogue is a great place to start!

    PS my brain feels like it’s been through a blender too 🙂

    • You are totally preaching to the choir Susan! Unbiased journalism is very hard to find!!! And those soundbites just make more noise, cause more frustration and more confusion.

      I LOVE your point that we have to take personal responsibility for the success or failure of our democracy!

      Hopefully blended brains turn into thinking muscles! 🙂

  3. Excellent article chery as usual.
    In Tunisia, after the revolution,with our recently gained freedom of speech we are discussing everything (politics, religion,behaviours….) everywhere. And we re confronted everyday to 2 or more perspectives of political events on the media. It s obvious it s intentional to confuse people and lead them to laziness of thinking again but this time a chosen laziness :(((((
    What ‘re you talking about is sooo true and everyone must work on himself if expecting any change

  4. Excellent article Chery and one that really made me think!

    Unfortunately in many conflict situations we tend to let our emotions take over and then we are totally unable to process objectively. This has happened during a crazy election season here in the U.S. Listening actively is key.

    I once collaborated with a woman who had a difficult time listening and she allowed her emotions to take charge instead of her brain. We ended up battling about everything. I just wanted her to listen.

    Thanks Chery for your insightful post and will share!