Today, all three of my children were fighting over a foosball game in the living room. It was refreshing that they were fighting over an actual game; versus the fight the night before over who was more tired.
Anyway, one firmly believed that were right about the rules of the game; another was very certain the other was very wrong about the rules of the game; and the third was just trying to make everyone silent by compromising (and shouting).
My little preacher, prosecutor and politician, unwittingly gave me all the material I needed for tonight's Yoke! Today, it just so happens I heard this fantastic interview with Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton, while I was driving around about the four modes of thinking. The modes are:
Preacher: the mode when we are convinced we are right and trying to persuade others to our way of thinking (These are the rules! Follow them with me!)
Prosecutor: when we are convinced someone else is wrong and we are trying to prove it. (YOU ARE WRONG ABOUT THE RULES!)
Politician: the mode when we are trying to win the approval of our audience (Let me tell you all how we can compromise those rules)
The fourth mode of thinking, which has never once been employed by my children is the scientist mode: when you making an hypothesis, but are willing to look at the evidence and decide whether you are wrong or with.
Grant theorizes that when we are in preacher, prosecutor or politician mode, we are unwilling to change and grow. We are limited by our beliefs and totally closed down to someone else's. When we think in scientist mode, we approach our beliefs like hypotheses and therefore, we are open to shining a light on the truth or more humbly being willing to change our view.
Sounds easy, right! We should all just approach our strong opinions as theories and then humbly listen to others trash our views or disagree. Then, we can analytically and prayerfully consider adjustments to our belief system.
And everyone is happy. Except, of course, for everyone. Because who among us is totally open to being WRONG?
I mean, not me. I am only wrong if somehow I can turn that wrong into being right about being wrong.
While I did not try to stop my children's fight by explaining they should be more humble and scientist-like (they'd simply eat me alive and turn on me), I did give these four modes some thought as it pertains to my writing and my world view.
I don't think I am often a prosecutor (I save that mode of thinking for emailing school officials), I do think I preach, endlessly in my writing. And I am absolutely a politician at work--trying to move things forward and get more work and allowing myself to appear agreeably and affable--when the contrary might be true.
I do I try to be a scientist, sometimes. I do find people's motivations for their belief systems to be interesting and while I have strong opinions, those strong opinions often change. I am still unsure exactly how I feel about many things. In other words: I am fickle. But does fickle make me a scientist thinker? I know my fickle sometimes turns those around me into very frustrated prosecutors and forces others into being politicians and then in turn, I become a preacher, preaching my point of view of the day.
All of this means, of course, that I am just as contrary as my children fighting over a foosball game.