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A lot of times in life, we are worried about doing the right thing. We have clear views about what is right and what is wrong. We get triggered and angry when someone else has a different moral position. We lose sleep and get stressed out because another person doesn’t agree with us.

Ideology

When we have a strongly held set of moral viewpoints, they can become an ideology. An ideology is a system of beliefs, ideals, principles, and morals. Ideologies aren’t bad per se. We all need a system of values to order our lives—otherwise we would live in anarchy and chaos.

Rigidity

There are two problems that can happen with ideologies. First, ideologies can become rigid. We might feel so strongly about our ideology that we aren’t flexible and open to change. We aren’t humble. This is a problem because the world is always changing. The only constant is change. If we are locked into a particular ideology and can’t budge, we are less likely to adapt to our changing circumstances in an effective way.

Differences

Second, we don’t leave room for other people to have a different ideology. We think our ideology is THE RIGHT WAY to think about the world, and view everyone else as misguided or evil. The reality is that people are different. We don’t all value the same things. How do we engage with people who believe differently? No one likes to be told how to think or believe. Trying to force other people to live according to our ideology is a losing battle.

Workability

I’m trying to think less about ideology and more about workability. In other words, I’m asking questions about what’s working, what’s healthy, and what’s reasonable. Focusing on workability is a more flexible way to live. It enables us to engage with people who are different in a more appropriate and effective way.

Discussion

What do you think about the difference between ideology and workability? In your own life, do you tend to think more about right vs. wrong or effectiveness?

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