I was chatting with my friend Ronit a few days ago.
We were exchanging book recommendations (best kind of friends, if you ask me) and had a conversation about this and that and during the conversation I was reminded of this once, a few years ago, when I had the privilege to interview the cool Nikhil Kumar on Money 20/20 and write a later article on India Stack and how I found the idea of an infrastructure for the common good is quite inspiring, with all the challenges it poses. The vision is bold. You moved me.
And Nikhil is amazing, and I was and still am an unabashed fan girl.
But not everyone agreed with my enthusiasm for India Stack.
I’ve had some bad, but potentially true, bounce, leading me to reflect on the mistakes, political tensions, and miscalculation that occurred during the rollout of these programs. The challenge was in the details and trying to suggest that I was clueless. Nobody tried to teach me even though they were right, there was a lot I didn’t know and had to think about.
Some have tried to belittle me. Like not knowing those things made me willfully ignorant and hopelessly stupid.
Some want to kill me.
This was the first and only time (at the moment) I’ve received death threats on social media, and I don’t know how those of you deal with these threats on a daily basis. It was horrific. Some were direct threats from the “I know where you live and you will die by morning” variety. Some of it was an expression of a desire for someone else to kill me.
It didn’t last, but it wasn’t fun.
Someone threatened to kill me. More than an API.
Above is an innocent view on the other side of the world.
Policy? Our right to have opinions do not chime? The power of the unknown keyboard warrior?
What happened to the art of controversy?
Not arguing to fight a fight, but arguing through the assumptions and implications of any position with a view to understanding what is at stake for each person, what we are up to, and what we might lose. He argues persuasion, and argues persuasion, sure. He argues for finding a way through, though. It does not argue for annihilating, controlling, and transcending all other opinions.
From vaccines to Brexit and football to fashion, we seem to be giving up poison. If you are not with me, you are against me.
It wasn’t always like that, and it doesn’t have to be.
Several years ago, when the topic of the hour was the Iraq War, I had a long, sensible conversation with a man I did not particularly like and with whom I had no common ground. We disagree on everything. From war being a good idea to the value of human life. But. This is important. We had a conversation about how we each understood the problem and why we stuck to our viewpoint. We discussed the inputs and considerations that shaped our opinion. We did not agree on whether violence was an acceptable means of foreign policy. We do not agree on whether human life is an acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of a higher cause.
In the end, we differed on a basic level of morality. But none of us walked away thinking the other was naive or stupid. We will never agree. We both regretted the other’s conclusion, but not theirs. We will never be friends, but we are not separated as enemies.
can be accomplished.
In fact, it should be done.
It is necessary to do and share the homework.
To actually do the thinking, then share it.
I have a colleague (I’m looking at you, Mark).
He is thoughtful, strong and will lead from the front.
This means that he does the thinking, forms a point of view and does not lack the conviction to pursue it. He has a position that rejects all controversy if he so desires. But he doesn’t want to. If you disagree with him, he will listen to you. Regardless of your role and seniority.
And if you make a good case, he will think and adapt.
The idea wins controversy every time.
No “that’s my tail and I’m dying on it”.
It is a beautiful thing and a sign of wisdom: to know that you do not know everything. To listen and think. And it may or may not be set, depending on the evidence presented. I made the argument.
Step one: think.
Step 2: Listen to other people’s ideas in case they know more or have a point of view that they lack.
Step Three: Decide.
It shouldn’t be difficult. However, it seems close to impossible.
Between confirmation bias and wishful thinking lies the graveyard of many good ideas that never had a chance to hatch.
So: please argue.
Argue about getting rid of things.
Do the assignment. Post it. challenged her. again and again. Do not take root. Don’t get defensive. Listen, think. argue. do not fight. But argue. Kick those tires. Keep going back to the question we’re trying to answer, not the point of view you brought to the table.
An argument doesn’t have to be a fight.
Faith does not have to be a dogma.
Opinion is supposed to be informed and as such means that it changes with the flow of information.
We will never know everything
One person will not think of everything.
No matter how smart you are, you could be wrong. And even if you don’t change your mind, having the conversation will teach you something.
So for the love of all that is holy: he argued. It makes you smarter.
Leda Glyptis is a resident thought instigator for FinTech Futures – she leads, writes, lives and breathes digital transformation and disruption.
sHe’s a recovering banker, a backward academic, and a longtime resident of the banking ecosystem. She is the Chief Customer Officer at 10x Future Technologies.
All opinions have. You can’t have it – but you are welcome to discuss and comment!
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