Episode #163 Forget Either-Or

Are you liberal or conservative? Good or bad? In or out? This week, Dr. Michael Brown and life design coach David Denison encourage us to retire unhelpfully divisive thinking in a variety of areas in life.

Show Notes

The singular best interferes with the possibility of all the available betters… Your best meal was not your best meal until it became your best meal.
David Denison

Three Problems

  • New friendships are often stopped in their tracks as the result of premature character judgments.
  • Circumstances impact our ability to choose, and healthy choices are more accessible to some than to others.
  • Our obsessions with certainty and control are rooted in fear.

Five Principles

  • We can empathize with others’ stories without feeling angry, afraid, or attacked.
  • It is possible for multiple competing ideas to be true simultaneously, and it is possible to accept seemingly contrasting realities at the same time.
  • Our growth potential is measured by our ability to return to the same ideas at progressively deeper levels.
  • We can maintain our strongest convictions even while listening carefully to diverse perspectives.
  • When we forget either-or and remember both-and, we open ourselves up to new possibilities, unexpected adventures, and deeper connections.

Three Practices

  • Become comfortable with the phrase, “I am not certain, but I am convinced.”
  • Identify, investigate, and incriminate the “musts, shoulds, and have tos” without which you would feel incompetent, immoral, or isolated.
  • Slow your breathing, your heart rate, and your racing mind while sitting in unsettling situations.

One Perspective

  • “Expressing doubt doesn’t always mean you lack confidence. It might be that you see nuance. The presence of certainty can signal the absence of complexity.” – Adam Grant