“Public speaking doesn’t usually scare me, but that day it did. I didn’t know what happens when you tell a group of people who consider themselves your friends that they are living a lie. But there I was. I finished the speech. People stood and roared, to my enduring surprise. Soon afterward, though, Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. secretary of state, came onstage and gently disparaged my speech. “Que cojones,” another woman whispered to me. Her husband, though, started speaking ill of me behind my back. A billionaire came up and thanked me for voicing what has been the struggle of her life. Some in the leadership of the Aspen Institute began frantically asking who had allowed this outrage to occur. That evening at the bar, some cheered me, others glared at me icily, and a private-equity man told me I was an ‘asshole.'”– Anand Giridharadas (Winners Take All)
When I read this book last year, I highlighted this amazing share by the author. The insecurity that many of us feel when we’ve said something that isn’t universally popular – that goes against the grain – is pretty commonplace. When I’ve spoken publicly about raising the federal minimum wage (it’s been $7.25 since 2009!), I’ve often felt this same way – one group of people applaud the argument and me for taking a stand, while others destroy me behind my back or at times within earshot (sadly, rarely do they do it directly).
At some point, we all need to decide what we think is right and consistently speak that truth as best we can. We need to remain open to new points of view that might help our thinking evolve, but just as Ted Lasso said “doing the right thing is never the wrong thing”, saying the right thing is never the wrong thing, even when the naysayers come out in droves.