Today I read an eye-opening article in the NYT that opens with: "Seven years later, it remains conventional wisdom here [in Cairo] that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda could not have been solely responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that the United States and Israel had to have been involved in their planning, if not their execution, too." Shocking, right?
It goes on to talk about how so far we have not been able to convince that part of the world that our war is against terrorism and not against Muslims, how people there just can't believe that a group of Arabs like themselves could orchestrate such an attack against a superpower all on their own, and how their distrust of their political leaders extends to a distrust of ours. I was definitely disturbed that average citizens in Egypt widely hold these beliefs.
The crucial point of the article is that we can either immediately take offense, or we can listen to what they are saying and try to understand why they are saying it.
It's being able to handle criticism. You can either become defensive, which is always so easy, or you can consider where your critic is coming from, find some common ground, and learn from the experience.
Read the full article here.