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Why You Need To Respect Difference Of Opinion

Why You Need To Respect Difference Of Opinion

“Why don’t these people take their careers more seriously? Is working a few extra hours each day for long term benefits that hard?” Such words would run in my head as I would slap my palm on my forehead.

A few years back, I expected the world to think, behave, and operate as I did. Due to my career-oriented mentality, I would look down upon others who did not have the same passion for their professional goals. I never understood why anyone would spend time relaxing instead of working towards growth.

Less than 200 years ago, dictators ruled the world, and monarchy reigned supreme. Many kings had their own beliefs and enforced them on their kingdom.

Anyone who stood in the way would lose his head to the swing of a sword. When I read about history, I would curse the stubborn kings who had the philosophy of “My way or the highway.” “How can someone be so blind and execute people without understanding the person,” I wondered.

Now when I look back at myself, I was no different than any monarch, barring the beheading. I had failed to realize that career is not the most crucial aspect of life for everybody.

How different people think different

You are unique, and so am I. No one thinks and acts exactly like another person in the world.

The problem is, we expect others to think like us and accept our beliefs. If your friend disagrees with your opinion, you do not have to reach a conclusion on who was right. Many a time, you’re both right in your own ways.

You have your set of beliefs and opinions. As human beings, we stick to them unless we encounter a drastic change. Sooner or later, you will meet someone who disagrees with your viewpoint.

What usually follows is a series of arguments and remarks of anger. In most cases, these quarrels help no one. You debate to prove your point and boost your ego.

Instead, if you try to learn why the other person had a different thought, you avoid the fights and build better relationships. More importantly, you understand perspectives.

Examples of people thinking different

Your thoughts are like your fingerprints. Parts of it are similar to that of another person, but they never match entirely.

Based on your personality, culture, upbringing, and other random factors, you develop your own identity. Expecting everyone to look at the world from your lens is not only incorrect but also unrealistic. But unfortunately, that is what you and I do.

Here are some inherent differences between different types of people:

Men and Women

They say men are from Mars, and women are from Venus. People of each gender have their way of thought. Most women cannot understand why a man ends up depressed after his favorite sports team loses the final. “It’s just a game,” she says.

Most men cannot understand how a woman can talk to her best friend for an hour every day. “What do you talk about?” he exclaims.

Again, there are exceptions where some guys hate sports, and some ladies dislike conversations. But men and women have some general characteristics exhibited throughout the world.

The differences don’t stop with characteristics alone. Both sexes differ in their emotional responses to a situation. A woman hates her partner leaving his clothes on the bed while the man hates his partner leaving her finished coffee cup in the car.

Such differences are typical and expected. When men and women understand and respect such viewpoints, the relationship remains steady, and the arguments stay minimal.

The risk-takers and risk-averse

Not everyone has the same comfort with taking risks. You might have the courage to invest in risky mutual funds. Your friend might prefer a safe, low return investment instead. Your friend might jump off a plane to skydive without an ounce of fear while peeking down the 10th floor could scare you.

You cannot categorize a person as risk-averse or risk-loving as a whole. The amount of risk you take depends on the task at hand and how much the outcome matters to you.

Trying to convince another person to follow your risk-taking style helps neither of you two.

Workaholic vs. a social person

I am a workaholic myself. My friends tell me often that I must enjoy life more instead of working all the time. Little do they know that working is what I enjoy.

I have tried explaining, but it never worked. Likewise, I have done my share of mistakes where I used to ask people to focus more on their careers.

Neither can a workaholic understand how people can feel relaxed about their career, nor can a happy go lucky person understand how a workaholic enjoys working.

Let the career-focused people continue loving their jobs and allow the people bitten by the travel bug to enjoy their experiences in different countries.

Introvert vs. extroverts

Every introvert has heard all his extrovert friends asking him to socialize more. “Don’t you get bored by yourself?” people often ask without waiting for the reply. The answer is, introverts enjoy spending time by themselves.

When an extrovert spends the whole day out with a different group of friends over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the introvert goes bonkers. “How can you not get drained by spending so much time out,” the introvert asks. The truth is, extroverts get charged by social interaction.

Neither can an extrovert understand the joy of solitude, nor can an introvert understand the pleasure of social interactions. Both look at the world in a completely different light. Trying to sway anyone in a direction opposite to their personality serves no purpose.

Why you should respect the difference of opinion and perspectives

I have tried enough to convince people to look at the world like I do. Sometimes, I would wonder why people couldn’t get the message. Over time I have understood that if anyone disagrees with my way of life, it neither makes him wrong nor makes me right.

I present a few reasons why you must understand and respect the difference of perspectives:

1. Your thinking isn’t always right

I had the habit of ridiculing vegetarians for missing out on tasty food. I assumed that what tasted delicious to my palette must feel yummy to the rest of the world. It took me time to realize my mistake.

What you believe is right is only one side of the story.

A staunch meat-eater prefers to look only at the pros and ignores the cons. An introvert believes a cup of coffee with a book serves as the best companion on a Saturday. A car lover believes that leaving a tissue in the cupholder is a crime.

If you look at such behavior carefully, you will notice that these rules originated from your perspectives. Another person can have the exact opposite regulations compared to yours.

There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.

-Robert Evans

Related article: How to improve your critical thinking skills

2. Two people can have different opinions and both be right

You and I make a common mistake of assuming that our thinking is the right way to go about life.

I am career-focused, and I had thought those who often travel were wasting their time. Likewise, I have heard such travelers consider me a fool for wasting my life without visiting enough places.

The problem with such a thought process is, we consider one of us right and the other wrong. But do we need to declare a winner? Can’t two people have different opinions and still be right in their own way?

I am right in focusing on my career because I decide what’s best for myself. But I’m making a mistake the moment I start judging people who wish to travel the world. Likewise, travelers are correct in enjoying their journey and experiences but incorrect in assuming that career-focused people miss out on life.

Both have a point, but you cannot classify every aspect of life as red or green without taking sides.

Related article: Finding faults with others is easy. Can you spot your own?

3. What’s right for you isn’t the best choice for somebody else

You and I have seen the world only from our eyes. Unfortunately, we tend to generalize based on our limited field of view.

Taking a high paying executive job might be a no-brainer decision to you. Another person might turn it down without a second thought because he does not want his entire life to revolve around the job.

You might consider a mini-vacation as the perfect plan for a long weekend while your friend might prefer a hot cup of coffee by the fireplace.

You consider a stable job as the right approach to your career while your coworker might choose to drop his papers and start his venture.

The right fit for you can be a total misfit for another person. Your personality, goals, and view of life differ from the individual sitting next to you.

4. Thinking different is normal and healthy

When you respect differences of opinion and perspectives, you understand people better. Keeping an open mind helps you improve, build better relationships, avoid conflicts, and grow as a person overall.

If you are an extrovert, your introvert friend will appreciate you not asking him to hang out in a crowded party often.

If you are car-enthusiast, the lady will appreciate you not making a fuss over the empty coffee cup on the dashboard.

If you are a workaholic, your traveler friend would appreciate you not looking down on his frequent trips.

5. Different perspectives avoid groupthink

Groupthink is a phenomenon where people agree to an opinion because everyone thinks the same way. Such a collective mindset can lead to disastrous consequences. When a group of people understand and question each other’s views with respect, mistakes are avoided.

Whenever you have an opinion on how to go about a task, somebody else might have a better idea. If people push your idea alone and shut down your mind to better options, no one wins.

When a group of people hear each other out and contribute their opinion the right way, the best outcome follows.


Do not expect the world to look at life like you do. The more you welcome other perspectives, the more you grow as a person.

You do not always have to agree with every single opinion, but you must have the humility to listen and understand others’ thoughts.

Besides, what’s the fun if everyone thought, acted, and behaved the same way. You would be surrounded by people who agree with what you say and do what you do. Competition would cease to exist, and the world would stop getting better.

Your brain works differently from any other person on earth, and you should be glad about that.

Leave a comment about your story where you stuck to your beliefs and forced it on another person.

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