Facts vs Opinions
- Dogs have fur.
- The Beatles were a band.
- The last day of school is May 22nd.
- Dog fur is pretty.
- The Beatles sang great songs.
- May 22nd is the best day of the year.
Opinions Can Change
Opinions Could Be Wrong
Let’s address wrong opinions. Many arguments last longer than necessary because of a dedicated section on how the arguer is entitled to their opinions, how it is a” freedom of speech” thing, and how as long as it makes them happy, they can say whatever they want.
We’re not children. We don’t come to school the next day and play together at the playgrounds again, totally forgetting the previous day’s fights and arguments. We remember hurtful insults and rude comments and ignorant rants, and that label you used to totally strip another person’s identity down to the bare bones.
Being entitled to an opinion does not automatically make the opinion right. It does not reduce the hurt from name-calling or make things okay just because “you didn’t mean it that way”. If you want to fight to the death for your opinion, remember that you have to be accountable for how you deliver that opinion, and that there is still a possibility of you being proven wrong.
Opinions Need Context
Face it, in every argument there is someone who is probably wrong and the other person is therefore, by elimination and definition, right. Why in the world would arguments drag out so long then? Because of context.
That’s right. Opinions need context. Many arguments cannot be resolved because the people involved in the argument are basing their opinions on different contexts.
You can’t generalize with opinions. They all take shape in this bubble of conditions that we call context. When talking about topics like abortions, gay marriage, women CEOs, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, searching for and contacting alien life, bear in mind that all these topics have potential for controversy and that’s the kind of place where everyone has an opinion.
And depending on their context, everyone’s opinion may be right.
Opinions Label You
There are a lot of cliques, gangs and groups online: Android or Apple, PC or Console, Chrome or Firefox; here are more tech battles you can check out. And like all great battles, there are plenty of passionate people on both sides of the war.
When you have an opinion that aligns yourself to a group or faction, you run the risk of mistaking this sense of acceptance and belonging as who you are. You get reduced down to a label, when in fact you have a personality that is so much more complex and too complicated to be summarized by a single label such as feminist, hipster, fanboy, or housewife.
Beware of parroting opinions that you don’t believe in, in order to be accepted by the crowd. You have your own set of opinions, formed by your life experiences, by the things you read, by the conversations you have, and you deserve to let that surface.
Reject the labels. You can care about more than two things at a time, and just because you are a hipster or a housewife, it doesn’t diminish the opinion you have to share with the rest of the world.
Your Opinion Matters
Opinions can and will evolve; sometimes at the risk of reshaping your reputation and credibility. And as much as you are entitled to them, don’t hold on to them too tightly. Opinions have a way of being infused with our dignity – it makes us think that if we change our opinion, them we’re flimsy or weak, when in fact it is a very natural process, kind of like growing up.
Just make sure that your opinion rocks, and don’t be afraid to share it.