I genuinely believe that most people in the world desire only good thing for their fellow man and are trying to do good. What is disturbing is that we all tend to dismiss any facts that are contrary to our own belief system, rather than investigate them further and resolve the contradiction. To quote Ayn Rand, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”
As a consultant one of the first things I learn about a prospective customer is if the are open to the possibility that they are wrong. Not that they necessarily are wrong, but just if they are open to the possibility. I will not work with anyone who does not respond positively to this idea. Of course, I reciprocate and state that I am open to this possibility myself.
One of my all time favorite quotes is from a little know business/psychology author named Edwin Friedman. He opens his book A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the age of the quick fix, with this gem, "The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change."
He demonstrates how this applies to all levels of human relationships: parent/child, spouse/spouse, neighbor/neighbor, employee/boss, company/company, citizen/government official, country leader/country leader. It is only through lowering our own level of anxiety, thereby increasing our own ability to think creatively and remaining connected to those we hope to change, can any transformation occur.
Advancing the dialogue requires the ability to self regulate your own anxiety level.