National Public Radio Made Me Write This Tip

People tend to seek out information that agrees with what they already believe.”

The statement was made yesterday on NPR’s Day to Day by Professor Robert Lichter, discussing why Independents likely won’t go to see any movie with a strong political message that might have the power to sway them.

It grabbed me, stayed with me all day, and demanded that I write this Tip. Because it’s true.

I read blogs where I’ll mainly agree with, sympathize with, or be inspired by similarities with, the authors. I go to stores where I won’t be challenged to try anything too new. I eat food I like, and while I might try that new Thai place, Thai probably being similar to Chinese, I’m no more than curious about Ethiopian or Romanian cuisine. I make friends, go on dates, with people who have a hobby or an interest in common with me, or who are friends with my friends. I’m thinking about seeing one of the movies they discussed on Day to Day (though I think I’ll wait to rent it, since the reviews are rather tepid), but the one from The Other Side of politics doesn’t interest me a bit, even after hearing it’s pretty good.

And among people I hang out with, who we’ve established, probably are quite a bit like me, I’m very, very adventurous. I do explore a lot of new things, I do have a very wide variety of interests, and I am open to a lot more than most (of them). I’ve even recommended exploring unfamiliar places and experiences here.

Heck, tackling industries I know little about, and learning all about them and their customer base, is part of what I do for a living as an Experience Designer. Yet I can only hang my head on this one.

(When I’m not at work) I tend to seek out information (and experiences) that agree with what I already believe.

So today, I’m going to:

Read a blog on a subject I am not even trying to be an expert in, where someone takes a position I don’t agree with, to see what other folks have to say;

Eat at a restaurant I’ve heard is good, that I’ve resisted trying;

and probably,

Go see that movie from The Other Side of the political fence. I’ll try not to groan.

I’m going to integrate experimenting into my life more than I pretend I already have, and by golly, I’m starting today. I don’t like it when a prof from George Mason University can call me out without even knowing me.

Check back with me Monday, when I’ve read all my favorite blogs, talked to my usual colleagues, and I’m eating lunch at my favorite bagel shop. I’ll look and sound entirely different, because boy, I’m busting out.

This is one hot Tip to expand your horizons. If you’re ready to take inspiration from wild new places and points of view, you never know—it could alter the way you do business.

Are you with me? How do you feel about seeking out information that doesn’t fit with what you already believe?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson