In business and in life there are conflicts. Some of those are internal but threaten the external when we lose control.
In this Tough Things First podcast, Ray Zinn explores how entrepreneurs can find a path to being open minded with conflicting with our core principals.
Rob Artigo: Welcome back to another edition of The Tough Things First podcast. I’m your guest host, Rob Artigo. I’m a writer and entrepreneur in California. Hi, Ray.
Ray Zinn: Hi, Rob. So good to be with you again. It’s been a while.
Rob Artigo: Good to be back, of course. Core principles define us and we don’t typically, like we’re doing a podcast here, we don’t just broadcast our core principles to everyone, but if they’re really true principles, at least in my eyes, they’ll manifest themselves in many ways that other people, that everyone will see. I mean, even if we’re not telling them what our core principles are, people will notice what they are even if they can’t define them right away.
Ray Zinn: Exactly.
Rob Artigo: But we’re also asked to be open-minded. Ray, in your experience, are there times when being open-minded is actually challenged by conflicts with our core principles?
Ray Zinn: Well, certainly. If you have a principle that you hold dear to your heart, then someone wants to bring a counter to that or maybe argue with you about that, debate you on that subject, you can get your, as they say your dander up, your hackles up, and then of course as soon as you do that, you shut your ears off. You no longer are going to be listening because you’re in a defend mode. The key is how do you maintain these very solid core principles, and even when they know that you have these core principles, and yet they’re going to want to argue and put you in a defensive mode. There’s a saying that goes, the best defense is a good offense. What you want to do of course is to make sure you don’t get into a defensive mode, because as sure as you do, you’re going to shut your mind off.
Rob Artigo: Well, if we have these kinds of things come up, it’s one of those things where we want to be tolerant with the people we’re dealing with. I mean, if we come from different cultural backgrounds for example. I mean, in some cases some of these differences can be pretty vast. There’s a lot of territory to cover, but you want to be open-minded and understanding with people. But if somebody else’s core principles or their attitudes about the world come direct conflict with you, it just seems to me the question is, how can we truly be open-minded in various scenarios, whether it be business or personal scenarios when the issue at hand actually goes against a core principle and we don’t want to get bothered? Like you said, you could get your dander up. We don’t want to get our dander up, but at the same time, we don’t want to compromise who we are, right?
Ray Zinn: Yeah, but the big debate right now is what is free speech? And I’m sure you’ve been following the news and you can see that there’s a belief that people are trying to shut off free speech. There’s no longer what we refer to as the ability to speak your mind, because they want to shut you down, and a lot of universities, especially ones that tend to be more liberal, are actually trying to prohibit conservative speakers from coming on campus to express their views, because the campus or the, as you would, the group being the majority apparently have decided that we’re going to be closed-minded. In other words, we don’t want to hear it. We don’t want you to threaten our views, and so therefore we’re just going to stop you from coming on and speaking your mind or giving your views.
So I think it’s a very good podcast, because the thing I think that’s really threatened now is our inability to get along with each other, to be able to have open debate and without having to get to threaten either physical or emotional violence. And so I think, Rob, this is really a good podcast for us to talk about it.
Rob Artigo: And it’s timely in an election year of course, and we’ve seen it in a variety of ways. It manifests itself, where there are, you mentioned campus, a college campus and where speakers have been shouted down or told they don’t have a voice. It seems the problem is that in those cons… I’m one of those people. I’ll just admit that I’m one of the people who when I’m being attacked and somebody wants to silence my speech, I tend to go, like I don’t want to have the conflict and I’ll just go away. But that doesn’t really solve the problem. You don’t want to have the conflict, but at the same time you don’t want to compromise your core principles and just cower in the corner and say, “Okay, you’re going to take away my voice? I’ll let you take away my voice.”
Ray Zinn: Well, I know, Rob, and that’s the challenge. I mean, there’s a whole host of Antifa, people like that, that are going to try to intimidate you and bully you. We don’t want to be bullied either, and so the challenge is how do we not be threatening to them? In other words, how do we not fight fire with fire? Obviously if it gets dangerous or if it gets threatening, you best remove yourself from the situation. It’s not that you’re cowering, is that you don’t want to escalate it. But not all debates have to be where there’s what we call closed-mindedness. It doesn’t have to be in a campus environment or political stage. It can be with our neighbors. It can be with our own family members. It could be between a husband and a wife or children.
The key here, what we want to talk about, is how do we not become closed-minded ourself? In other words, this is not so much how do we react in a threatening condition like on a campus or in a other more public debate, as you would, but even one-on-one employee to employee, boss to subordinate or subordinate to boss, or husband or wife or parents to children. This is a subject that I think we should talk about in general as opposed to just talking about Antifa kind of violence or the threatening of free speech. In my mind, the way you become open-minded is to show love. In other words, love is compassion for another individual, and so if they feel your love, in other words if you don’t act or sound threatening, even though you have a very core principle.
It might be one where one of your children has decided to experiment with some drugs, and of course now this goes against your core value as a parent or maybe as a supervisor. If you get angry and if you get threatening, they’re going to close their mind. They’re not going to listen. I’ve had four children, and typical kids, they grow up with their different personalities and issues, and I have found over the years that my family responds better, or my employees in this case as the CEO of Micrel, they respond better when they know that you love them and you have their best interests at heart.
So the whole concept of this podcast is to get people to understand that you’re going to attract more bees with honey than you will with vinegar. And so the best way to be open-minded, meaning that you’re willing to listen and being more harmonious, as you would, it’s just to show your love for them as a person. Respect them as an individual. That’s being open-minded. It doesn’t mean that you have to change views, but yet you don’t come across as being dogmatic or as being a demagogue. That you’re showing compassion, you’re showing empathy, you let them know that you understand their situation and their particular emotions that they’re facing.
Rob Artigo: You mentioned counter, let’s put it this way, countering that negativity or that close-mindedness coming at you by being an example of something else. And it takes us back to the beginning of the conversation when I was talking about how our core principles may not be something that we are articulating to people, but an example of how we are living, and therefore it says more than perhaps what our words could say, correct?
Ray Zinn: Exactly. Well, your example sets who you are. Whether you’re going to be a good example or a bad example, your example sets the stage. If part of your example you’re setting is one of a caring, loving, compassionate person, you’re less likely to get into these harsh debates, because people will say, “Well, he’s humble, he’s a good man or a good woman,” and they’re less likely to want to denigrate your personal beliefs or your particular core principles. It’s really the way you come across. It’s that Cocker Spaniel look versus that Doberman Pinscher. If you come across as a Cocker Spaniel then you come across more loving and so forth. As a Doberman people are more fearful. You have a choice. You can come across more as a Cocker Spaniel or you can come across as a Doberman Pinscher or a German Shepherd. It’s just in the way you project yourself, as you mentioned.
Rob Artigo: As we close this podcast out, just a thought in terms of what can we learn about discourse just by being observers of these more vitriolic reactions that happen from one side versus the other, and shouting the other side down or attacking and that sort of thing? What is it that we can learn in our lives, in our family lives, in our business lives that we can take away from what we’re seeing rather than participating in it?
Ray Zinn: If it’s a strong core principle that you have, or if you’re trying to set the stage for something, you’re less likely to be less vitriolic. In other words, the more you hold to those principles openly, you can hold them inside but hold them openly in open debate, as you would, the more vitriolic you become because you’re going to start fighting fire with fire rather than trying to put water on the fire. So it’s interesting that we don’t change people’s minds, they change their own mind. You’re not going to change their mind or they’re not going to change your mind by ranting and raving and jumping up and down and shouting and screaming and getting in your face. That’s not going to change your mind, and if your goal is to help promote them to recognize what they’re doing and be more open to them changing, that’s the way to do it.
They’ll change if they feel the need, and they’re going to feel that need more if you’re coming across as a more compassionate, loving person than if you’re going to come across as a vitriolic, angry individual. Now, set aside these politics things because that takes us to a whole different story, that we’ve just gotten into a situation there of they seem to think that anger gets them more votes. I don’t subscribe to that, but apparently they think that by attacking each other and threatening each other with sarcastic remarks somehow or another get some more votes. But anyway, for this podcast or what the message we’re trying to get across, is choose as to what you want to be viewed as, a Cocker Spaniel or a Doberman Pinscher. Unless you’re trying to be elected to something, be more compassionate, be more loving and understanding, and they’re going to change their mind, you’re not going to change their mind. Does that make sense, Rob?
Rob Artigo: Sure does. Well Ray, as always, we’d like to let our listeners know that you can reach out to Ray Zinn with your questions toughthingsfirst.com. Continue your education and this conversation with all the podcasts, blogs, links to information about the book, Tough Things First, Ray’s new book. The Zen of Zen, I guess it’s not that new now, but it’s still out there.
Ray Zinn: No. Well, we’ve got-
Rob Artigo: It’s been out there for a little while.
Ray Zinn: We have our book we’re going to bring out here in the next few months, so it’ll be a similar book to The Zen of Zen, but it’ll be another 500 more thoughts that you can consider.
Rob Artigo: Oh, wow. Okay, great. I’m looking forward to that. So again, there’s The Zen of Zen, which is out there along with Ray’s book, Tough Things First. So you can go out there and locate that book amazon.com and other places. Collection of writings and interrelated topics of entrepreneurship, leadership, management, discipline, determination, self-discipline, society, management of your personal life and your business of course. That’s The Zen of Zen. Thank, you Ray.
Ray Zinn: Thanks, Rob. It’s so good to be with you again.