Creativity Pathway #141: Diversity of Thought

Bob’s not the only one who enjoys the inspiration and beauty of Chautauqua. I too have been going to Chautauqua for many years and this year my family and I were able to overlap for a few days with Bob and Megan, making the experience even more delightful.

As Bob has noted, Chautauqua is a setting designed for intellectual stimulation and spiritual renewal. Yet, I was still amazed when I overheard a conversation between two Chautauquans as they were reading through the Chautauqua Daily, a newspaper which highlights the events and learning opportunities on the grounds each day.

“Dad, the lecture this afternoon should be interesting and good for us,” said one to the other. “He’ll be speaking about a topic that is very different from what we think and believe.”

“Good for us?” I thought, “Don’t we all prefer to hear perspectives that are similar to our own, resonate with us, and confirm our agreements?” But this man was saying the opposite of that; he was expressing a genuine interest in hearing from someone who would present an opinion different from his own.

So often we get stuck in the rut of reading books on similar topics, going to seminars and lectures that focus in our own areas of interest, or watching programs that share our already established views. What if, instead, we made it a practice to integrate opposing opinions into our experience? What if we intentionally included persons of various belief systems into our conversations and decision-making? 

Our lives would certainly be made richer through the questioning and stretching of our own paradigms; our experience of the world made deeper by tapping into the wisdoms of a larger and more diverse pool; and our empathy and tolerance made stronger in knowing other persons beyond their surface. 

Coaching Inquiries: Consider who sits in the pew with you at your place of worship or peers across from you at your lunch hour. Do they look like you, sound like you, or believe as you do? Do you create opportunities to interact with those who are different from you? How could you integrate new and opposite perspectives into your thought processes?

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

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