Debating makes some people sick to their stomachs.
I was never good at debating in school. I tried joining the debate team, but wound up being a pretty decent mathlete instead. What I did learn from my brief run-ins with the debate team was that I had a love for listening to the opinions of others. Not necessarily in order to let them sway me, but to hear something I might have missed in the overall conversation. I enjoyed hearing both sides of any issue. I was obsessed with the idea of devil’s advocate.
All that interest in debate wasn’t of much use to me while in the music industry (unless debating whether The Simpsons was funnier overdubbed in German or sub-titled in Swedish with us trying to read along as we drank beer on the almost 24 hour wide across some of the worst roads in Romania). I forgot about my love for it and didn’t think much about it. You can’t really do much debating over whether the song starts on a G major or an E minor – it either does or it doesn’t.
When I joined the online world of real estate and started reading blogs, I found that the ones that intrigued me the most and got the most response from me were the posts that involved a hot topic or a heated debate. Even if I didn’t comment, I was clicking refresh every few minutes to see who had something new to say or a new offshoot to travel down. I found myself excited by the prospect of so many people I admired (and some I didn’t even know of) having these open forum discussions. Sometimes, the consumers would even join in and sound off (nothing better than hearing direct from the consumer in my opinion). No matter which side I landed on in the debate, I couldn’t wait to hear the next comment. Each post gave me a glimpse of the problems of the industry, the fixes for those problems, the new ideas, the old ideas, and sometimes even the absurd.
Debate is not the root of all evil, it’s the root of all solutions.
Recently I’ve been trying to engage others in debate. Trying to push them to think of new ideas. It doesn’t always work. And it’s not just for them. It benefits me. I learn, I engage, and I build relationships. At times, I think some people think I’m just sparring with them for the fun of it. I’m not. I’m enjoying it, yes, but I am trying to get new ideas and grow my own thinking on different subjects. I am questioning authority at times and questioning our own practices at others. Have you ever said something on your blog that seemed a bit controversial? Have you ever asked someone a question they didn’t want to hear? Ever ask a question of other agents that you knew would make them squirm? Try it – the results might just be the beginning of a new idea for you, the industry, or the world. The more we get involved in conversation (which is how a good debate should run – it doesn’t need to be yelling and screaming or a serious structured debate), the more we learn, grow, and think “outside the box” (I hate that phrase, but couldn’t think of a better one). So go ahead, debate me, tell me I’m wrong, and demand I rethink my position. I want you too.