Having an opinion

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3 min read

We all have opinions on almost everything. To have a valid opinion, we should first do due diligence to understand both sides of the argument. How many of us actually do the work before we have an opinion on something?

How much work is it? Well, you need to do the research and understand both sides of the arguments. You start to form your views and then you need to dive deeper into the arguments that oppose your views to have a better insight. In some cases, there are more one perspective that disagree with your views. So multiply the work you need to do accordingly.

And in the process, your views falter and change as you gain insight, providing you with knowledge and wisdom you didn’t have when you first established your views.

Avoid bias, court disagreement

How often do you find yourself seeking information that backs up your views? How often do you seek views that run counter to your views? Is the former more frequent than the latter? If your answer is yes, you are biased.

We are all biased to a certain degree. The key is to be mindful of when we might be and address the prejudice. Actively looking for information that disagrees with your views is a great way to avoid bias.

Have an open mind

When you seek views that oppose yours, do you argue your point? Or do you accept the information from this perspective with an open mind?

Many people think that they are open-minded, yet they have a set of preconceived judgement on some things. This an inevitable process. As we grow up, we form opinions and stick to them more often than not.

Some of these are ideas and concepts that we are so used to that we don’t even pause to question. In some cases, times have changed and the opinion we had is has weaker arguments for it now, then when we first made the opinion.

The first step to having an open mind is not to think that you are an open-minded person, but to admit that you might not be as open-minded as you thought you were.

Admit you’re wrong

“It is easier to keep adding exceptions and justifications to a belief than to admit that a challenger has a better explanation.”

Zeynep Tufekci

Being able to kill off your earlier views is a very important step of forming an opinion. You supported a particular stance before and now you oppose it. This means you have the knowledge and understanding of those views. More importantly, you can understand where they fall short.

When you discuss this topic with someone else, you are then able to point out these and better articulate your argument for the your opinion, especially when those who hold your previous opinion.

But do so with an open mind, still. For all you know, they might come up with an argument that would make you question your views once more.

Remember, we are not out there to be right. It is about understanding each other.

Justify your opinion

I don’t mean come up with reasons to justify why you take a particular stance. I mean doing the work necessary before you are justified to make an opinion.

To have an opinion, you need to start by being impartial and judge the arguments from all sides.

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