Imagine a world where everything was the same.
All the flowers are the same, all the trees. All the people are the same color, and everyone thinks the same thing.
It may sound ideal at first, but think about it. Deeply. Where would we be if this “utopia” existed? Would we have progressed so much as a society without challenges to the ‘norm’?
Tesla vs. Edison
For some reason, I am intrigued by the 1880’s debate between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. I really couldn’t tell you who ultimately won that debate. Tesla’s AC power, alternating current, reigned supreme for a while but considering that the very device you’re reading this blog from is Edison’s DC power, direct current, now we have a toss-up. Certainly, we all benefit from that “war” and can appreciate how they were both challenged to improve and learn everything they could about their new, opposing ideas!
Let’s consider the potato. You’ve likely eaten them in some fashion. Beyond being mashed, fried, or made into a salad, did you know that according to the International Potato Center: CIP, “there are over 4,000” edible “potato varieties”? This amazing veggie/starch is versatile enough to be used for everything from filling our bellies to removing rust to making alcohol to…you get my point.
Electricity or potatoes, all of these varieties of thought and people willing to think outside of what has been established, propel us forward toward better, best, and great!
My challenge to you
Surround yourself with people from a wide range of thoughts, cultures, races, and even politics. We need to be challenged. If you’re on a team, have a rotating member (not the same person all the time) be the naysayer. This practice allows the quiet team member to begin to think and engage with the team rather than just go along. And your usual naysayer will learn how to accept thoughts not his/her own. You and your team will be better for it.
I just experienced this myself when I invited my husband to critique this post. I cringed at some of his edits for sure but I understand the end result. Inviting differing persons and ideas into your life may at first feel unnatural, cause you to recoil into a defensive posture, but be patient. Listen. Understand. Think deeply. After all, diversity is the spice of life.
Rosie White is a Library Services Paraprofessional with the SPC Libraries & Learning Resources team at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.