Many of my my life’s best lessons have been taught by others who directly challenged my beliefs. Here are some of my more memorable interactions:

  1. Being challenged on my views on religion – I never questioned my faith, but there were a lot of incongruencies I harbored underneath the surface. After speaking with an atheist friend for 10 minutes, I realized I was simply afraid to openly declare that I was a “non-believer”. Rather than be honest and honor those agnostic beliefs, I was going through the religious motions.

  2. Being challenged on my views on abortion – I never considered the human aspect of abortion until I sat down with a self-proclaimed “far right winger”. Even though I didn’t agree with his views, his frankness and real-life examples caught me so off-guard I was literally speechless.

  3. Being challenged on my views on homosexuality – I realized an online columnist who I thought was very masculine was actually gay and I was somewhat surprised. His response was perfect… “Yeah so?” When he put it like that, I (officially) realized it really wasn’t a big deal for someone to be gay.

  4. Being challenged on my libertarian stances – A lady responded negatively to an op-ed piece I wrote for my college newspaper. After debating with her, she didn’t back down. By standing up for her beliefs, she forced me to double-check and re-examine my views.

Had it not been for these random people refusing to roll over and capitulate, I would be far less mature and open-minded than I am today. Interacting with people I disagreed with forced me to examine my “pristine” beliefs and get a more accurate picture of reality.

The lesson I have learned is that learning only comes from challenging oneself. This is what great teachers and great friends do; they force us to stretch and consider what we had previously dismissed.

I plan on writing more about this topic in the future as it relates to education. In my personal observations, giving up money and power to governments to educate children reduces the responsibility and consciousness of the parents whose children are being educated.

Thank you for reading.

To see a great video on “excuses”, click here.

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