Are we learning only from those we like?

During the US election, I was hooked on the news updates. I loved looking at the data and hearing the commentaries and following some of the podcasts. But according to my partner ‘there was something very strange about how I was consuming information’.

He said “most people either read left wing newspapers or right wing newspapers, not both, like you. Why would you read  the same story twice?” My response was “because the truth is often somewhere in the middle”

I had never thought about  how I consume the news as something odd, but apparently it is. So why do I do it this way? Because I studied politics and really got to understand the role and power of the media in shaping world events, so with the knowledge I gained – I could take nothing for granted, especially on matters related to truth seeking.

There’s a lot of talk in the learning environment about unconscious bias. Oftentimes it’s to do with race, gender, sexuality etc. and how we interact with people who are different to us. But my biggest interest is who do we learn from, because if we can shape that, we can shape how we behave; that’s why I’m a strong believer in being an eccentric reader and broadening our sources of inspiration.

We can learn just as much from ‘bad people’ as we do from ‘good people’, if not more, but even more apparent in today’s society is that goodness or badness is in the eye of the beholder. If we are to be passive consumers then none of this matters, but if we want to lead then we must take a proactive role in seeking truth, balance and objectivity, all traits that society today largely eschews.

So the big question is, are you only learning from people you like? What will you do in 2021 to broaden your sources of inspiration?

Hopefully I can give you a head start with this week’s podcast on Melania Trump. Check it out here