Going Against the Grain Might Actually Help

Having someone that challenges you, even in a positive way, can be annoying – but it’s important to pay attention, because even if it tests your ego (and patience) it could be good for your soul, and it will certainly be good for your performance.

Recent studies have shown that while group harmony should always be promoted, an unchallenged conviction should be discouraged. The latest research, conducted at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, studied two teams each containing 39 participants. The results conclude that the team that disagreed more fared better than the team that was in agreement. The reason could be that we are forced to rethink and justify our answers when they are challenged, which leads to fewer mistakes.

But, this is not something new. Plato and the Neoplatonic talked about it and it was German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel who developed the concept of “Thesis – Antithesis = Synthesis,” a progression of three ideas in which the first one is challenged or contradicted by a second one, and the conflict between the first and second idea is resolved by a third one, which is better than the other two.

You obviously need to be smart about who you listen to – a lot of people out there will contradict you just for the sake of it. Others might not want to see you shine, so always take things with a grain of salt. Similarly, it’s probably not a good idea to take love advice from someone who is a hot mess in their romantic life, or financial advice from someone who is broke (unless you want to learn what not to do).

In conclusion, next time your partner, co-worker, or parent disagrees with you, don’t get defensive right away; listen to their point of view, because more likely than not, there’s a lesson somewhere in there.

What do you think? Do you believe in this theory? Let us know in the comments below.

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