Saturday, August 27, 2005

Curious about Opinions - How Strong Are Yours?

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”

Even though I feel that I have strong opinions, I have also always prided myself for the fact that I am flexible enough to see both sides of an issue, discussion and/or a belief.

This past week has been what I would term an “opinion-testing” week. I am a member of several lists and discussion groups. There is one discussion group that even when I am as busy as I have been, I still visit daily and also read most of the postings. This is because I not only enjoy the members of the group, I also learn many marketing ideas from the intelligent and sharing participants.

What started as a question from one of the members about a critical e-mail she had received and how she should handle it, escalated into a rather heated discussion about the New Hampshire woman who is suing her doctor for telling her that she is obese and that she should lose weight for her health.

Of course, there are always three sides to every story and situation and we don’t know all of the facts. I made the error of voicing my fitness instructor’s opinion about the importance of disciplining oneself to exercise and watch what we eat. After all, I felt that the doctor should warn her about her growing size. Wow! You wouldn’t believe the angry responses!

Then, I also saw a man at the post office I hadn’t seen for many years. He is a fine storyteller and I remembered him as a fun and upbeat person. In the twenty minutes we spent talking, most of the time was devoted to his negative comments about what the world, the economy, the youth, the family and storytelling are coming to - all downhill and bad.

He did not want to hear my positive opinions. Yes, I certainly don’t agree with everything that is happening today, but I do feel that there are a lot of good and exciting changes taking place. I am so pleased to be in contact with several global communities - even when we hold different opinions. I love my life and the fact I get to work out physically every day and can make a decent living with my Portfolio Career.

But before I bore you with positive opinions, I do want to share some of the great opinion quotes I gathered. Great food for thought:

  • Robert G. Allen and I agree heartily, “Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand.”
  • Edward F. Halifax wrote, “Men who borrow their opinions can never repay their debts.”
  • Josh Billings (1818-1885) wrote wisely, “Most people when they come to you for advice, come to have their own opinions strengthened, not corrected.”
  • Georg C. Lichtenberg (18th Century Physicist) even earlier said, “One must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them.”
  • And, really early on, Chuang Tzu (386-269 BC) stated, ‘We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.”

And, to bring a smile to your face and heart with this serious and volatile subject, here are a couple more:

  • The great Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!”
  • And, my favorite - Bryan Miller is right on, “Contrary to popular notion, truck drivers know nothing about good restaurants. If you want a reliable tip, drive into a town, go to the nearest appliance store and seek out the dishwasher repair man. He spends a lot of time in restaurant kitchens and usually has strong opinions about them.”

So, send me your strong opinions - and the reasons for them, if you can remember! I love getting comments (hint).