“Make a friend that does not look like you . . . You might change the world.”
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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At times clients ask me to review and analyze a work-related agreement, with the comment “It seems quite simple.” I often respond, “Simple agreements are often the most difficult to understand.” That is because I have to consider not only what the agreement expresses, but also “What is missing?” Said a bit differently, “What is not here that should be here?” If an important element is not expressed, that, by itself, actually changes what is expressed.
It is the same thing when considering when a person says something that makes you think, “How in the world can he or she say such a crazy thing?” Chances are that you would better understand what they say if you knew more about their experiences in life, which form a great deal of their perspective on the world.
Making friends with people who don’t look like you gives you that opportunity. And, when doing so, it gives that person that same opportunity, to understand you and what you say. Less anger, more understanding. Less “What the heck!” and more “Oh, now I see!” Less friction, more glide. Give it some thought.
This thoughtful quote came to me emblazoned on a tee shirt presented to me by someone I like a lot, who does not look like me.
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