One of the necessary skills a man must posses is the ability to hold competing views as true and noble, simultaneously.

An admired traits in a man is persistence. Persistence in the face of adversity, single minded pursuit of a goal, remaining true to ones own values despite challenges from the external environment. This is a fundamental trait that a man must cultivate on the path of personal evolution.

Another important skill is to step out of any situation and be able to observe it from the outside without passing judgment. This is always a challenge, even for the more evolved individuals, but it a skill that must be practiced and internalized in order to improve ones decisions.

If you often find yourself expressing decisions in a categorical sense, inability to contain opposing view points as true is the culprit.

To test for this is to ask yourself:
Is this good or bad?

The easiest examples are what western society considers controversial topics – abortion, religion, intelligent design, free health care, public education system, declaration of war.

There are, of course, many smaller and less polarizing situations where opposing viewpoints easily occur.

Is a man supposed to pay for the first date or is it OK to go dutch?

The best way to develop agility to make decisions that are win-win is to practice seeing a situation from a different, opposite, perspective. This is often referred to as playing the devil’s advocate.

For example a religious conservative might believe that women shouldn’t work. From one woman’s perspective this could be an attractive lifestyle of permanent vacation. However if I’m opening a business this rule effectively halves my available pool of workers.

If I’m a car manufacturer, I would want everyone over the age of 10 to be granted a driver’s license – because that way I can sell more cars. If I’m an owner of a car rental company the decission doesn’t affect me as one must be 25 to rent a car in this state.

While rigid decission making can be seen as persistance, stability of character and unwavered values it often does more harm than good because of the limiting frames that are put on one’s decissions.

The best decissions are made on the basis of experiences, or feedback, and any future actions should be based on the previous results. This is only possible when every new situation is evaluated on its own merits. And to be able to evaluate a situation from different angles requires the ability to believe two opposing views or ideas as true at the same time.

This ability is critical in order to improve one’s situation because without it it is impossible to challenge outdated or unhelpful views and beliefs.

To benefit the most from this article, take a moment now to write down three views that you consistently use to decide regarding the following:

1. The restaurant you choose for a dinner with friends
2. The industry that you preffer to work in
3. The type of car that you want to buy

After you’ve written down your views on each, come up with one example of a situation where your belief doesn’t result in a benefitial outcome.

Please feel free to share with me your discoveries or any feedback in the comments below.