If there's one behavior I've learned which has proven to be the most useful throughout my life, it would probably be "see for yourself." I know that sounds trite and simple (maybe because it is) but it's also true.
It's following this "golden rule" which has led me to such amazing experiences as visiting the Egyptian Pyramids and walking along The Great Wall of China. But it has also forced me into less literal interpretations, where my mind has been opened to new ways of thinking and finding new truths where I was once ignorant. Like that movie which critics keep telling you sucks, but you go see for yourself and end up liking it.
Today I was catching up with the internet while I was on telephone-hold hell, and ran across a company mentioning how they had been the victim of an unfair verbal attack. I kind of like the company and what they do, so my first reaction was "Yeah. YEAH! THAT ASSWIPE CAN BURN IN HELL!! HOW DARE HE ATTACK THIS COMPANY" But my mind slowly drifted back to my mantra to "see for yourself" and so I started investigating the "asswipe" in question, reading up on things he had written and looking into the things he's done.
Much to my shock and horror, I ended up really liking what I found.
No, I didn't agree with absolutely everything he says and does but, looking at the big picture, he's my kind of person. Smart, funny, opinionated, open, and a little bit caring too. He ended up being just like the people I enjoy having as friends. And once I realized that, I tracked down the actual source where he "attacked" that company I like, and found out that the situation was not quite as simple as I had been led to believe. On the contrary, by the time I had made my way through it all, my mind had changed completely. I was now turned around 180-degrees and agreeing with the "asswipe" guy.
It's not the first time it's happened. I'm sure it won't be the last.
A part of me just hates it when my initial instincts and reactions are wrong, but there's also a kind of perverse satisfaction I get when discovering that I've learned something new... the hard way.
Sometimes you just have to see for yourself.The reward is often worth the extra effort.