An old couple was once asked what the key was to the longevity of their relationship. They said each of them had learned to say one phrase to the other person during an argument, really believing it deeply:
“You could be right.”
I want my life to communicate the openness and respect that comes from saying those four words with sincerity.
I want all my interactions with others to carry the assumption that I could be wrong — that I could well be speaking to someone I could learn from, regardless of age, social position, beliefs, economic standing, or whatever.
When I read back through some of my previous posts, it is not any specific statements that bother me – it is a forceful certainty that bothers me, as if my ideas are all self-evident. When we approach our beliefs that way, how could we not treat other perspectives with an attitude of condescension?
How much progress could we make in politics if we simply admitted, “You could be right.”
How different would diplomacy be?
I’m not talking about acting like our own perspectives are illegitimate, I’m talking about believing there might be some legitimacy in the perspectives of others, even our enemies.