I got yelled at this weekend. I was driving down a road in our town past a small group of demonstrators. As I slowed down to pass them safely, one protestor walked nearly into my lane of traffic holding a sign and shouting at me.
Though I’m sympathetic to this person’s cause, my instinctive response was to feel defensive. “Why is she yelling at me?” I thought. “She doesn’t even know me.”
There’s a lot of shouting going on right now. People are understandably scared and sad and angry. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Not just in our streets, but in our offices, neighborhoods, and homes.
But what if we flipped the script? What if, instead of responding to shouting with more shouting, we started by asking ourselves, “What might lead this person to be shouting at me?”
What if we went even further and, before opening our mouths or moving our bodies, we willed the best for this person? What if we imagined that they got what they needed, instead of wishing they would just get out of our grill?
That’s what humble change-makers do. They know that the beginning of doing something real and constructive in a chaotic world is to flip the script from the downward spiral of shouting to an upward spiral of wanting the best for each person. Even those who shout at them.
Where do you need to flip the script today?