Have you noticed how polarised we are lately?

No matter the issue, if you’re not fiercely PRO you better be devoutly CON.

There’s plenty of theories about how we got here but no matter the cause, history’s pretty clear about what happens when we let communities split up like this and the results are never good.

We need to come together while we still can. But how?


Seek out those who think very differently to you and invite them to expound their worldview and any facts or ideas that have convinced them of same. Resist the urge to ‘correct’ anything you don’t agree with.

Like most of us, you’re probably convinced that you’re right and they’re wrong. Try to ignore that belief; it only gets in the way. Keep asking ‘why do you think that?’ and listen carefully to the answers.

2.Establish your common ground.

There are important ideas/hopes/opinions/concerns you both share. Find them. You may hold common views about (say) What Must Change or Why but perhaps disagree about How… find the exact point where you ‘part company’ – it’s important.

3.Identify your key disagreement and examine it together.

When most of us ‘think’ about an issue what we’re actually doing is evaluating what we’re currently seeing and hearing against what we’ve already experienced in life.  This comparison generates emotions which then shape our opinions… which we then collect arguments for and reject arguments against.


We can become so passionate about our views that they can quickly form without the need for careful analysis or reflection. So what looks like a genuine difference of opinion might be a simple difference of upbringing.

If you had their background, would you see the world as they do?

4.Exchange your doubts.

Confrontation makes people ‘double down’ on their beliefs, no matter how shaky. Open and respectful exchange reveals our doubts and frees us from the pretense of certainty. It identifies What Neither of Us Actually Knows, a massive terrain waiting to be explored by open, curious minds.

5.Seek a third way.

If we can’t both be right… can we both be wrong? Is there a middle position that makes more sense than either of our two extremes? Or better still, is there a whole other perspective that neither of us have taken the time to discover?

6.Keep talking.

Sure, it’s not as easy as fighting… but it usually works better.

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.