In Chapter 13 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami answers "How Do You Create Hope and Dispel Fear When Introducing New Concepts and Ideas?" Goswami stresses the importance of meeting someone where they are and not judging them for being wrong for where they are. It is not a right versus wrong discussion. Rather it is about acceptance and how to introduce new concepts into the conversation. Bijoy Goswami is a writer, teacher, and community leader based in Austin, Texas. He develops learning models, including MRE, youPlusU, and Bootstrap, to help others live more meaningfully. Previously, he co-founded Aviri Software after working at Trilogy Software. Goswami graduated from Stanford University, where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and History.
Erik Michielsen: How do you create hope and dispel fear when introducing new concepts and ideas?
Bijoy Goswami: You have to go back and meet someone where they are and if you meet someone where they are then they’re not wrong for being where they are, right?
So, one of my things is we’re all on this journey, we’re all on this journey of evolution and we’re some place and I was 12 at one point and I knew what I knew, now I'm 38 and be something. So, to me it’s if I can meet someone where they are, then there’s nothing wrong, they’re not wrong for being who they are. They’re not wrong for being where they are. They’re not wrong for holding the beliefs they do or whatever. Once that acceptance not just posing as it I actually do understand that then I can say okay. Well, what’s a concept or how can I then stimulate a new concept or how can I, you know, intervene in the system but if you meet someone where they are there’s no question of fear or its – Because the other piece of it is that even when you introduce something new you’re actually, you’re gonna co-create that with them, right?
Like this dialogue here, we’re creating a dialogue here. We’re both creating it together. Same thing there, so immediately they go, Oh, wow. It’s a give and take, it’s a 1 + 1, we’re going back and forth, alright? So, when I think about new concepts or any ideas I'm always listening for where are they gonna inform what I'm doing because I'm actually trying to advance it, it’s not a static thing. It’s an evolving thing. How are they gonna advance it from me, so how they can meet where I am, right?
Once it’s in a dialogue in that sense, a dialogue in which you’ve really met where they are in their path, I don’t think you have that sense of fear. You don’t have that sense of loathing or foreboding, it’s oh that’s great and we all know there’s something next. Whenever I’m in a moment, there’s a new moment. That’s just the way, that’s just the way things are.