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How to Avoid a Fat Lip
Les Bloch lists 10 ways to have opinions worth listening to.

By Les Bloch

I've been punched in the mouth a couple of times, mostly for good reason. Usually I was telling someone something they didn't want to hear. A radio commentary occasionally doesn't jive with your philosophies either -- but most people don't put their fist through the dashboard. They simply change the station. Since it is hard to change human opinion, here are 10 ways I've learned to avoid a fat lip.

One: Shut up. How can you hear, absorb and understand if you won't listen? I had to learn this the hard way.

Two: Shock your ears. A musician friend had to learn music she didn't care for. While she never fell in love with it, she admitted it did -- like opposing opinions -- open her ears.

Three: Don't be a sheep. A speaker who talks about idiots and imbeciles is using emotion to collect followers. Chances are he's ignoring facts to obscure the truth.

Four: Keep the baby. Listen for aspects of an argument that do make sense. In other words, don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Search for nuggets of truth.

Five: Stop Guessing. Don't assume a person is a group. Assigning someone beliefs they don't have misses the opportunity to find common ground.

Six: Be wrong. Politicians are crucified for being flip-floppers.  But what if new information enlightens you? It's your obligation to change your mind if the truth leads you there.

Seven: Read more. The written word allows you to understand in ways hearing cannot. You react to fiery speech. You absorb written arguments.

Eight: Don't Know. If you only have an opinion of convenience, admit it. "I don't know" are the three wisest and least heard words in the English language.

Nine: Open the Shed. Collect facts with a variety of tools until you know what you're talking about. Research sharpens you.

And last but most important: Laugh it Off. Humor separates the successful from the rest. It indicates a desire to play, and if others will play with you, I guarantee the fat lips will be few and far between.

With a Perspective, I'm Les Bloch.

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