It's a sad and telling testament to our society. We've lost the ability to have civil debate. We can no longer 'agree to disagree.' Mutual respect for varying views and opinions is literally non-existent. Tolerance is only extended as long as you hold the same convictions and beliefs as the one granting tolerance. Nowadays, it's my way or the highway. I'm right, and you're wrong. Or, as in most instances, I'm right, and you're an idiot!
Nowhere is this more apparent than across the myriad of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Have you ever encountered one of those people who always insist on being right? Not only do they have an ego the size of Cleveland, but they genuinely believe that everyone else is somehow inferior.
Recently, during a rather impassioned discussion in a Facebook group, one of the people commenting elected to 'block' several of the others engaged in the conversation stream. Rather than the possibility of expanding their intellectual horizons, or seeing value in differing views, they chose to effectively silence those who disagreed with them. On a 'social' network, specifically designed and developed to encourage meaningful conversation and connection, the outcome was sadly comical.
Back in one of my previous careers, I provided support services for an outside sales force. One of the salesmen, Dan, absolutely idolized Elvis Presley, and even had those huge lamb chop sideburns like Elvis. Once, during a 3-day sales trip together up through Northern California (one that seemed to last more like 3 years!), Dan confided in me that there were times when he felt he was the most intelligent person in all the world, and that his penance in life was to endure everyone else's ignorance.
Unfortunately, Dan's attitude is all to common and prevalent these days, especially in the social media space.
One of the things I enjoy about my career in real estate is that you are a lifelong student. You never 'arrive.' You are committed to constantly learning, becoming better informed and equipped to serve your clients. In fact, one of the components of the REALTOR® Pledge is this: "To seek better to represent my clients by building my knowledge and competence." How can you effectively build your knowledge and competence if you're unwilling to listen, or feel as if you already know it all?
The other day, one of my Sellers asked me a question, and I responded with what I believed to be the right answer. Later in the day, after consulting with another trusted source, I realized that my answer wasn't accurate. So I contacted my Seller and conveyed the correct information. In this instance, providing the right information to my client was more important than my being right.
In our business, change is the only constant. New regulations and laws are regularly enacted or amended. Forms and addenda are revised accordingly. New technologies and models emerge daily. The best agents and brokers are those who are relentless in staying informed and embracing change.
The cost of being right all the time is a very narrow and limiting existence. If we aren't growing, we're dying.