We all have opinions; sometimes we share them, sometimes we don’t. But I want to introduce something else to you today: Having none. And no, I don’t just mean keeping your opinion to yourself once in a while. When asked for my opinion on certain issues, sometimes- believe it or not- I have none. And I would encourage you to do the same.
We live in a time when people are crazier over the sound of their own voice than ever before. They like hearing it; and in addition, want to make sure others do too. We all want to stand out, we want to be significant, we want to be acknowledged and respected; and so we try to see what others don’t, have not, must not see, and say what others have (hopefully) not (yet) said.. even when there is nothing to be seen, or anything to be said. And sometimes it’s rather annoying, believe me. Really, really annoying.
When did we loose the art of being agreeable? When was having an opinion made equal to bashing another’s? When did it become so bad to simply allow someone share his mind without having to fear being publicly ridiculed or humiliated? When did it become so bad to simply allow someone else teach you something; if not anything, perhaps simplicity?
There are some people you meet and – for the sake of peace and sanity- you just smile at, making a conscious effort not to say anything that could possibly be contradicted (and only very few things fall into this category), simply because you know that if it can, s/he will!
I learnt this lesson some time ago. Not necessarily the hard way, but in a moment of reflection anyway. There was a time I always had something to say, something to add, something to correct; and it become exhausting. I started irritating myself. You see, I like arguing as a sport. You won’t find me defending myself or my honour, probably ever, but you sure will hear me arguing about the fate of the universe, the duty of political leaders, the failure of spiritual authorities. I do it because it is fun. It exercises my brain cells (iThink), it keeps my jolly- but I don’t do it all the time! And I have certainly learnt not to do it with people that cannot or simply choose not to argue back.
I think it wonderful to have an opinion.. on many things, but I find it just as wonderful to be able to not have one on some things. We don’t know it all. Let’s admit we don’t and stop faking we do. It’s really that simple. You cannot possible have something to say on every single issues. If you do, you need peace!
I said all this to say the following:
In matters of principle, stand as a rock; in matters of style, swim with the current.
This is the secret! Well, seeing as I have unveiled it now, it is a secret no longer. It will change your life!
In matters of principle: argue, defend, speak out, stand up.. even if alone! In matters of principle never compromise! But in matters of style, let each have his own way. Swimming with the current does not necessarily mean following the popular opinion; or loosing your individuality for the sake of society. It just means not fighting (against) it.
To be honest, most things people disagree on are not that serious. Fish or chicken? Water of Juice? Coffee of tea? Perhaps even Paris or Madrid? A flat or a house? If it’s not a matter of principle (black or white, right or wrong) why fight over it, really? In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? As long as either of the two does not violate laid-out principles (the Word!), be free to choose and enjoy the consequence of it (as there are hardly ever negative ones for mere preferences). Be free to choose not to add your own 2 cent to a conversation when it does not suit you or the situation. Most of us have been taught to stress and argue and defend a point; but few have been taught how to simply listen to someone else’s.
Just because we have the right to choose between two things/options/opinions or even add our own, doesn’t necessarily mean we have to choose. Why not make use of our right to refrain from making a decision? Why not choose to simply sit back? To not speak but be spoken to?
And please, don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating being a mindless and brainless follower of other’s and adhering to the status-quo; all I am saying is that you do not need to argue over everything all the time! Most people do is just for the sake of it.. Don’t be such a person!
Argue when there’s a need, not an opportunity.