“Because real conversations challenge us. Real conversations and difficult conversations, in my opinion, make us stand in our own truth. And they teach us that we have to be truth tellers. And we got to listen to learn. And not only that, we have to learn to ask intelligent questions. We are two sided. We are the problem and we are the solution.”George Raveling
That’s from an episode of The Tim Ferriss Show with Coach George Raveling – the first African-American head basketball coach in the PAC-8, Nike’s former Director of International Basketball, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. I’m only two-thirds of the way through the podcast as of this morning, but that quote has been in my head since yesterday morning.
It’s easy to get used to lies, partly because we tell them to ourselves all the time. Maybe it’s because self-deception is a short walk from a narrow focus and that narrow focus is a quick hop to built-in survival instincts that have kept the human race going all these years. I’m not sure – you should probably ask your local psychologist or anthropologist. Much like everyone else these days, they’d probably appreciate the company.
Prizing the uncomfortable truth over lies that fit neatly into what we’d like to hear is a tough thing to do. It requires us to be flexible in our world view and willing to adapt our beliefs to new information. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of folks have come to prize consistency – even consistently being wrong – as better than a willingness to change.
I’d recommend listening to the entire episode for two reasons. First, because any time you have a chance to learn from someone who’s been on this planet for 82 years and lived a varied and full life, you should take it. Second, because Tim Ferriss is a really good interviewer – listening, asking good questions, and prying out more information when necessary.
I think Coach Raveling was right when he said, “we are the problem and we are the solution.” That’s an uncomfortable place to be in – as a human being, as a citizen, and as a country. It also happens to be the place where we all need to be right now.