Just trying to plug along the whole Blogging A to Z series where I pick a letter and just write.
I have opinions which, by definition, makes me opinionated. And for anyone who has read this blog in the past, that shouldn’t be news to anyone.How’s the old saying go? Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has them. (And I’m no different.)
Though what I think is a little different – at least with me anyway – is that I’m usually not shy about letting people know mine. If you ask me a question, if you want to know my thoughts, I’ll tell you. And not only will I tell you, rarely will I sugarcoat my answer.
You ask, I’ll tell. Usually.
Unfortunately there are a lot others out there doing the same. I’ve touched upon this before mentioning how social media has given a voice to far too many people who probably shouldn’t be heard at all. Ever.
But as I often do, I digress. This isn’t a freedom of speech debate nor would I ever want to silence the masses.
Yet far too many people confuse opinion with fact. If something is on tv, online, published in a book, written in a blog or comes from the mouth of a celebrity, we tend to take it to the bank as authoritative and true.
We see it in the media all the time.
How often has a big advertising campaign swayed our own thoughts, actions and opinions based on little more than a cool pitch by a well presented personality? I know I’ve fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
Look at how people follow a single news source and dig-in with the notion that any other news outlets with a dissenting view must either be bias or downright wrong? That’s one reason why state-owned media in countries like North Korea, Russia (in the past), and the Middle East have such control over their people.
As humans, we have an incredible ability to think for ourselves, form rational opinions and seek out the truth yet far too often we become lazy and allow others to do that for us. And I get that we tend to socialize and agree with like-minded people, but that shouldn’t mean that we allow those people to make up our minds for us.
Personally, I’m about as far from authoritative on any given topic that you will ever find. In my 40+ years on this spinning space rock I have discovered very few answers and I’m fully aware that my opinion on anything is just one of many. That’s why I try to look at the viewpoints and thoughts of others before making up my own mind.
We don’t live in a world that’s black-and-white; right-or-wrong. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution nor is there just “two-sides-to-every-story”.
Rarely is the truth found in one place. Seek the opinions of others, look for a consensus and understand multiple viewpoints.
If the answers and opinions you find differ from those those you started out with, it doesn’t make them wrong or invalid. Just think of them as another piece of the overall puzzle that should allow the truth to come into a better focus.
A friend of mine has modified the opening mantra: Opinions are like assholes: everybody’s got one and most of them stink. He’s got a point — they stink when they are asserted as fact (see what I did there???). The stink when they are forced upon me because my opinions are “wrong”. They stink when they are born out of false information. It’s hard work to have an opinion! You’ve got to be knowledgable about the topic you have an opinion on, you have to stay current so your opinion is always well informed, and you’ve got to be willing to listen to others and argue your point to make your opinion better and stronger. It’s not just having a feeling about something and then sitting on it.