A lot of people eat primarily, maybe even exclusively, chicken or beef.
Few people eat chicken and beef.
It makes sense that you’ll like one a little better than the other.
It depends on a number of factors.
What the lunch lady cooked in high school.
What your parents served you growing up.
What their parents served them.
Maybe your genetics are such that you lean one way or another.
Did you have a Chik-fil-a or Burger King near you growing up?
Either way, everyone naturally polarizes to one side or the other, chicken or beef.
I think that’s okay.
But I’ve noticed something else that’s a problem, I believe, among extreme chicken eaters and extreme beef eaters – popularly referred to as the ECE and EBE.
How To Lose An Arguement
Say an alien lands on earth and has to choose chicken or beef.
His planet doesn’t have either so we have a debate where both sides will have the opportunity to convince this alien to join the American Chicken Alliance or the National Beef Coalition.
With intergalactic influence, winning over the first alien on earth could be a pivotal swing in the endless battle between the ECE and EBE.
Each team chooses a representative for the massive debate.
People tune in from all around the universe.
The debate begins.
Charlie: “Chicken has lower cholesterol than beef”
Bob: “BUT grass fed beef has good cholesterol and fats that you can’t get from chicken”
Charlie: “But Chik-fil-a has a spicy chicken sandwich with pickles on it. It’s amazing!”
Bob: “The Whopper has pickles too, and onions and cheese. Boom!”
Charlie: “The Whopper isn’t grass fed beef, it’s GRAIN FED.”
He says this in the “you play ball like a girl” tone from the Sandlot and the crowd goes “oooooooooo.”
Bob is speechless.
He didn’t even know the Whopper was grain fed.
Charlie knew beef even better than Bob did.
Bob tries to recover, “Well Chicken has bones, and isn’t juicy, and…”
His face is turning red with embarrassment.
The Alien chimes in, “Wait, wait, wait… Bob, have you ever had chicken before?”
Bob: “Well, uhh… I tried it in college once.”
Alien: “I chose chicken!”
The crowd erupts.
Where did the National Beef Coalition go wrong?
Charlie for Chicken had grown up near a Chick-fil-a, but took a course on beef in college.
He also had some EBE neighbors down the street that he ate with twice a week, where they discussed the latest trends and topics in the ever popular magazine “All Things Beefy.”
Bob for Beef ate hamburgers and meatloaf growing up.
He went to Oklahoma Beefeaters University where he majored in beef production economics.
One weird night while he was there, he tried some chicken strips with this girl he kind of liked, but that didn’t last.
He now spends 25 hours a week watching Beef Head TV where they ignore the fact that the whopper isn’t grass fed.
Because Charlie studied beef and chicken from different perspectives, and Bob had one narrow lens through which he saw the chicken v beef debate, Bob didn’t stand a chance.
Chicken Or Beef? Better Have Both
Bob’s story is common today.
People choose a side, chicken or beef, and create and environment around them to avoid consuming anything that does not support their choice.
The idea for someone like Bob to watch the Chicken Channel on TV, or go to the Chicago Chicken Challenge with the rest of the ECE freaks them out.
So he or she avoids it completely.
It works for them, because they’ll likely never be on TV in a debate like Bob was.
They’ve been able to surround themselves with everything that confirms beef is the right choice, and chicken eaters are idiots.
Again, this won’t kill them, but it means they’re ill informed.
To be truly informed about an argument, you not only should understand both sides, but be able to argue both sides.
You can’t try both a few times, pick a side, and never look back.
Remember Charlie was updating his beef knowledge weekly at the neighborhood meetup.
Charlie could even convince the most die hard EBE that he was a fellow supporter.
“You can’t really have an informed opinion if you can’t state the other side of the argument better than the smartest person who holds the opposite view.”
– Shane Graham
In this post by Shane Graham, he explains that Charlie Munger, billionaire investor, seeks out opinions of the smartest people who disagree with him.
By doing this, you will strengthen your own opinion, or change it and have a new opinion more robust than the old.
This process can only make you smarter.
The problem is, most of us get in our own way.
We, like Bob, avoid opposing opinions like the plague because we can’t deal with the confrontation.
The idea that there might be an opposing opinion out there that we’ll agree with completely freaks us out, because then we’d have to change.
We’re scared of change because it often has unknown outcomes.
We get so comfortable with our own way of thinking that over time we build barriers between us and opposing opinions.
I think it’s a good idea to reach across those barriers.
Grab someone on the other side, discuss, debate, and maybe even change.
As humans, that is how we grow.