They Disagreed with My Idea! Understanding differences in perspectives

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I had an interaction with someone recently that left me very frustrated and a little angry.  I presented an idea along with my thoughtful reasoning for why we should implement it.  They disagreed and waved away my reasoning as if it didn’t matter.  Of course, I knew I was right, but the situation didn’t allow us time to discuss and dig deeper.  It would have to wait until later.  I found myself replaying and ruminating on what they’d said and why they didn’t like my idea.  Wow!  The negative thoughts were flowing!  I knew this was normal and knew with a little time I’d regain my perspective, but for the moment, I was totally focused on what I didn’t like.  (Note – this is not a good time to make decisions or maybe even approach the other person.) 

When I encounter negativity in my life, I try to see what I can learn from it.  It may not happen in the moment, but my husband and daughter will remind me.  They enjoy the opportunity to point out how this is such rich material for me.  

By the next day, I could see that this person who didn’t like my idea had a very different perspective than me.  They had different life experiences around this topic and a very different personality than me.  I also talked to a friend who was able to point out some other reasons why they may not like my idea that I had missed.  What a difference a day can make!  I was now rethinking my idea and how I could modify it with their perspective in mind. 

What a great reminder that we each have our own unique perspective that is influenced by many things such as our life experiences, our values, our personality, and our thoughts.  I think of it like the complex web in the picture.

When we can start to understand why we see things differently, we can begin to appreciate these differences and create much more effective interactions.    

Think of a time when someone disagreed with your idea and then you realized later that they had their own reasons based on their own experiences and perspective that actually was helpful.  


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is founder and owner of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.

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