A recent article I read referred to research showing that people rarely listen to opinions contrary to those they personally embrace. They tend to surround themselves with like-minded people, not with those who will stretch them.
Narrow views get narrower.
“There is research indicating that misinformed people rarely change their minds, even when presented with facts. They merely pursue alternative facts. Which creates a stupidity feedback loop,” writes Neil McDonald, a CBC Opinion columnist.
I have no doubt the research is true. Anecdotally, I’ve seen countless examples to support that thesis. Some would suggest we are seeing exactly that in the U.S. political scene right now.
That’s not uncommon in politics. Just try talking to someone who voted for the other party than you did in the most recent election. You sometimes wonder whether you’re even arguing about the same set of facts.
It happened a couple of weeks ago in a small group I was travelling with: two perspectives on our election outcome. Arguments became strong. Bets were made, odds given.
(The more informed did, in fact, ultimately win the bet.)
It happens in sports all the time. Two completely different perspectives on the same play. Refs always favour the opposite team (of course)!
Clearly, it happens regularly in religion. Most people simply read only those religious works, or listen to those religious leaders, that reinforce their perspectives. Or, at most, stretch them only minimally. “Don’t read that book,” the warnings often go, “it’s dangerous!”
Dangerous to think? Really? Safer to close one’s mind and not think? Really? And how would you know whose advice to take on what to read and what not to read?
In a conversation last night, my friend pointed out that one of his friends was living equity rich but cash poor. He said he’d pointed out to his friend some easy ways to reorganize his wealth so that he wouldn’t constantly have to pinch his pennies. “But, do you think he will listen to anything?” he said. “He has his (misinformed) mind made up. He’ll rather complain about being broke.”
Imagine where the world would be if everyone limited their thinking to those things that were “safe,” that reinforced what was already comfortable. Would we have scientific and economic advances? Or would we still be caught in the pre-renaissance world?
I’m fortunate to be part of a group of guys who meet from time-to-time to discuss religion, politics, economics, science, whatever. We’re like-minded in the fact that we love to have our minds stretched through dialogue and debate. We’re not like-minded in the fact that we have diverse views on almost every topic, sometimes polar opposite. The various combinations and permutations are almost endless, even in a group of less than a dozen (I may totally agree with Bill on one issue but have a diametrically opposed view on another).
But we’ve all agreed that all perspectives within the group are valid. We argue and bounce ideas off each other. We may come away more convinced, or less convinced; it doesn’t matter. We still value the diverse arguments.
The aforementioned travelling group was part of this larger assemblage of guys. We’ll meet again, and the topics may be totally different. And there will be very little “I told you so.”
We should all be so lucky!
At least, that’s how I see it . . .
Rent 2 Own tip
In recent issues we’ve discussed two kinds of credit that will help you get a mortgage: revolving credit and installment credit. The crucial one is that you’ve shown the banks you can be responsible with “revolving credit,” aka credit cards. Installment credit, such as a car loan, is also a preferred type of credit.
But if you don’t have installment credit, there are several other types that also show up on your credit report, and that will show the banks you can be responsible with credit. One is “Retail credit.” This is the type of loan you may get when you buy furniture or appliances or some other retail product that you pay off over time. It is often a special form of installment account, in that you pay off a fixed amount every month from a set original amount. But it is unique in that it does not come through a conventional lender but through the retailer, itself.
Another type is called “Open credit.” An example of this would be a cell phone bill. Like other credit types, it needs to be paid monthly. Unlike installment and retail credit, though, it does not start with an amount to be gradually paid down. Instead, like revolving credit, it gets built up, then paid back down, every month. But, unlike revolving credit, it must be fully repaid every month in order not to be delinquent.
Lastly, there is mortgage credit, which will show up if you have already had a mortgage. A credit line, secured by your residence (“home equity line of credit,” or HELOC), is treated like a mortgage. These did not used to be reported to the credit bureaus, or, if they were, were reported quite randomly, but now are being reported much more regularly. Obviously, previous history with a mortgage, if payments were made without delinquency, sends a positive message to the lenders.
So, there you have it. Get a good revolving credit account and at least one other, and you are well on your way to convincing the lenders that you can be responsible with a mortgage.