Today's thought

Quiet influence

People tend to fear things they don’t understand.

It’s probably some primal fight-or-flight thing at play, but it manifests in the worst ways on the context-less internet: Lashing out at new ideas, belittling people’s genuine expertise, cult-like devotion to ignorance, or possibly worst of all... forever shutting themselves off to the potential of their own lives.

To a person who cares, it can feel like a noble responsibility to to change people’s minds about something you personally know is not as they fear. But if there’s one thing I know: You can’t change the minds of Internet People™ through argument. Defending an idea or preference almost always feels hostile to those who refuse to learn… so what can you do?

  1. Seek to understand their perspective, rather than be right.
    Everyone has fear, which gets expressed in different ways, often determined by personal experiences. Let that common ground of humanity guide your approach instead of a quest to be the victor.

  2. Be okay with the chaos of conflicting thoughts & beliefs.
    There’s balance in everything, even in the presence of things that feel downright incorrect. No matter how strongly you feel about something, there must be opposition — "right" doesn't exist without a "wrong".

  3. Just keep doing what you’re doing and ignore drama.
    While unsatisfying in the moment, your ability to continue enjoying the “fearful unknown” might influence someone indirectly, inspiring them to face their fear in the future.

People tend to fear things they don’t understand.

It’s probably some primal fight-or-flight thing at play, but it manifests in the worst ways on the context-less internet: Lashing out at new ideas, belittling people’s genuine expertise, cult-like devotion to ignorance, or possibly worst of all... forever shutting themselves off to the potential of their own lives.

To a person who cares, it can feel like a noble responsibility to to change people’s minds about something you personally know is not as they fear. But if there’s one thing I know: You can’t change the minds of Internet People™ through argument. Defending an idea or preference almost always feels hostile to those who refuse to learn… so what can you do?

  1. Seek to understand their perspective, rather than be right.
    Everyone has fear, which gets expressed in different ways, often determined by personal experiences. Let that common ground of humanity guide your approach instead of a quest to be the victor.

  2. Be okay with the chaos of conflicting thoughts & beliefs.
    There’s balance in everything, even in the presence of things that feel downright incorrect. No matter how strongly you feel about something, there must be opposition — "right" doesn't exist without a "wrong".

  3. Just keep doing what you’re doing and ignore drama.
    While unsatisfying in the moment, your ability to continue enjoying the “fearful unknown” might influence someone indirectly, inspiring them to face their fear in the future.

Hundred Daily™ is a 100-day writing challenge by Aaron Rolston. The goal is to publish 100(ish) words daily & send them out via email. Consider subscribing if you'd like to receive daily broadcasts from me.

Aaron Rolston © 2099

Aaron Rolston © 2099