Multiple View Points

Exploring multiple view points is important. Different perspectives (also known as viewpoints) help provide better solutions to issues.

Common questions to ask yourself are:

• Are there other perspectives that I can view this challenge from?
• What are these other view points?
• How can I use these perspectives to resolve this challenge?
• Am I aware of the cause and effect of any decisions made, or actions taken?

Here is a classic example of an economist who was able to understanding two different perspectives.

Milton Friedman, a famous economist, was a passionate advocate of the free market. He agreed to debate the hot topic of tuition increase at the state University of California in Los Angeles.

The Governor (who was Ronald Reagan at the time) had proposed the increase.

The two viewpoints were clearly opposite. Friedman defended Reagan’s proposed tuition increase. The students were against it.

The students were furious at Friedman’s position and booed him as he entered. During the debate Friedman turned to the students and called them “objects of charity.”

In shock, the students listened. Friedman told them that there wasn’t another program that clearly transferred income from the poor to the rich as did government subsidized higher education. Tuition reimbursement had:“The people of Watts paying for the college expenses of the people from Beverly Hills,” he argued.

Friedman understood both viewpoints clearly. This helped him construct a convincing argument for raising the tuition. He knew that no student wanted to pay more money for tuition without a good reason.

Friedman also knew that the tuition needed to be increased to be fair to all students, rich and poor. Once the students saw the unfairness of their lower tuitions they voted by a large margin to raise tuition rates.1

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
~Milton Friedman

Opening up to see multiple viewpoints of an issue is a powerful skill. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with the opinion of someone else.

However, there are frequently two or more views to an issue that are worth considering.

There are significant benefits to exploring multiple view points. You are able to find the best solution to a problem. And, you add to your personal database of alternative solutions and experiences for future problems.

A good method to view ideas from different views is using the six thinking hats.

1 Christopher L. Tyner, Milton Friedman’s Free Mind Favors Free Markets Investors Business Daily, March 2, 2006.

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