by Nim Gholkar

“Person X is a fool. He has done more damage than good for society” she said, pouring tea for her friends who had all gathered for a weekend chit-chat.

“You are so right. He’s a fool indeed” agreed the rest of the group. For the next hour, there was an energetic discussion of all the ways in which Person X had proved himself to be a fool. Happy with their views and smug in the knowledge that everyone felt the same way, they each went home that evening convinced more than ever before that they were absolutely right about Person X.

This is what is known as the ECHO CHAMBER EFFECT. This effect kicks in when you are only surrounded by people who agree with you and share the same opinions. Therein lies the danger. If you only interact with people who see the world through the same lens you do, you don’t allow yourself to grow as a person.

As they say, birds of a feather flock together. We are uncomfortable with people who share conflicting opinions and so we stick to our regular friends who think and behave like we do.

In life, it’s important to occasionally also meet up with those who have conflicting opinions. Listen to their views without judgement. Ask questions to understand, not to argue. Once you finish listening to them, one of two things will happen. You will either realise that your original views are still valid OR you will have discovered a new perspective that aligns better with your core values. Either way, you will have evolved as a person and widened your mindset.

Being constantly with people who think like you do is fun. But the only way to learn to think better is to sit down with a cup of tea (and lots of cookies) and chat with someone who has a completely different viewpoint.

If you must argue, do it with the intent to seek the truth rather than to prove yourself right.

Nim Gholkar, 2021

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