Great Quote and Great Poem: Respecting our Individual Differences

Love this quote from David Keirsey’s “Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence” (A super cool book, by the way):

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau

And here is a fantastic poem from that same book on respecting our unique and individual differences.

Different Drummers

If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.
Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.

Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances,
Try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.

Or yet if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be.
I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me.
That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, Your friend or your colleague.
If you allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions,
Then you open yourself, so that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong
And might finally appear right to you as right – for me.

To put up with me is the first step to understanding me.
Not that you embrace my ways as right for you,
But that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness.
And in understanding me you might come to prize my differences from you,

And, far from seeking to change me,
Preserve and even nurture those differences.

-From the novel Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey.

For effective and genuine communication in work and in life, we need to realize and respect that we are all quite different from one another. We can choose to be curious and respectful rather than closed off and judgemental.
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