Jason Rodrigues

Don't let the hypocrisy door hit you

People, opinions, and circumstances change. Laws are revised, doctrines get updated. Nothing is constant. While we know this well enough, we still tend to let biases at the moment conquer our immediate thoughts and consequently what we say.

Regardless of how strongly you feel about something right now, they're your thoughts in the present and are prone to compromise at some point if not overwhelming change. You stand to gain a fair amount of credibility in the future by being correct. However, the converse if looked at is an asymmetric risk, in that, we say something (low investment) and stand the (large) risk of it being used against us in the future. Realistically, if you knew what was to change right now, you'd probably do a lot of things right in the present. How do you reverse engineer future thoughts and circumstances now?

Decide proactive or reactive stance

When you catch the air of a conversation, find a way to understand if this is something you want to take a stand in proactively and float your opinion out there or one in which you'd like to wait for everyone to finish. Being reactive or holding a particular opinion to yourself has its own pros and cons. Pros being that you get an idea of everyone's argument while gathering and assimilating your thoughts. Cons are the topic that could be phased out, and you risk people not knowing what you were thinking.

Avoid absolute statements

Avoid words absolute statements like the plague. If you're confused about what these words or phrases are: they're basically phrases that denote a 100% probability. For example, will, not, should, not, never, always ought to be used for factual statements.

"I will never talk to you again" → "I do not feel like talking to you right now."

"I'd never buy that" → "I'm not sure that would look good on me"

"I always do this" → "I've done it the past couple of times"

Make it clear that this is your opinion

Leading any sentence with "In my opinion", "I believe that" or "I think" is a clever way to present what would be a malleable thought. Being open to convincing, or at least listening to people make a case brings out a more amicable person. You can also follow the sentence with, "of course, these are my thoughts", "I'm open to hearing you out if you believe otherwise". There's a popular tenet used by some investors in the valley that goes by the saying "Strong Opinion, Loosely Held". What it states is that one must be quick to form a tentative hypothesis, but make sure it is an ever-evolving one. Using these simple cues, you can clear the air as you start a conversation.

While these may seem likely subtleties, building credibility is an important part of life. For most people, this is more habitual than intentional. Actively avoiding letting the door of hypocrisy from hitting you on the way out is critical.

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