Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity for “negative capability.” We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself…
…Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living (via khuyi)
There is so much good stuff in this post, but these two really stick out to me as I believe they are intricately linked together and our relationships hinge upon the ability to understand and be understood, even in the face of uncertainty. It’s obviously relatable in startups, but is much more widely applicable to all of our relationships.