As I mentioned earlier this week, having a team-first attitude means reminding ourselves that “it’s not about me.” As an athlete, it means putting in a little extra work to aid in the success of your team. As a parent it means sacrificing certain personal conveniences on behalf of your kids. As a teacher or a coach it means going the extra mile to help a young man or young woman reach their full potential. The list goes on. There are countless ways to put others wants and needs ahead of your own. It, goes beyond the obvious daily or weekly sacrifices we make. Sometimes selflessness manifests in the way we were are able to put our own opinions aside.
To me, selfishness is no more apparent than in politics. And by politics I mean topics of a political nature. When it comes to politics, many of us are dead set in our opinions, convinced that they are correct. Our own personal experiences in life bring us to these conclusions. And that’s fine. But how often do we take the time to actually listen to and understand the other side of the coin? How often do we listen to somebody that completely disagrees with us, without trying to formulate a response or a rebuttal? How often do we SEEK to find opinions that differ from our own so that we can LEARN about another person/vantage point/culture/way of life?
Too often we’re content with what’s in front of us on a daily basis, and forget that the rest of the world – the next person, the next city, culture, country, etc – experiences life differently. That means everyone’s reality is a little different, and in order to affect change in in this world, we’ve got to be able AND WILLING to quietly observe those realities to understand them. We get stuck in a mindset that says, this is my personal reality and that’s all that matters. But it matters a lot.
We won’t experience everything that other people experience. But we can certainly reserve judgement, and seek to understand what others experience. As the saying goes, “God gave us 2 ears and one mouth, so that listen twice as much as we speak.” We could throw in the fact that we have two eyes as well, to see twice as much as we speak. Be willing to look outside your own reality. Be willing to silently observe. Be willing to step outside of your mental, physical, mental, political, social comfort zone. Be willing to LEARN.