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Finding Joy with Those Who Don't Think Like You


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Illustration of two foxes

Foxes by Jessica Roux

The two of us have been digging in to reconcile the differences between us for 15 years. What are we digging into? The thick, rich, confusing soil of the different ways we think, experience, and understand the world.

It was clear within the first 10 minutes of meeting that we were radically different. Put it this way: If the human brain is 95 percent water, Angie’s is like a still mountain lake and Dawna’s is like a bubbling geyser. Dawna makes direct eye contact and tells provocative stories. Angie, on the other hand, looks off into the distance and asks evocative questions. As mother and daughter-in-law, love (or even liking each other) was not a given. In fact, just the opposite. We both loved the same man, but in two very different ways—as son and as husband. No law in the world could force us to turn toward each other. Mothers and daughters-in-law more often run from each other or, at best, tolerate each other rather than dig in. Our clear differences have not, however, kept us apart or hindered our ability to work well together. A year after we met in 1996, our family started a consulting partnership. And in 2015, after two decades of teaching and learning what we came to call intellectual diversity with global leadership teams, we distilled the results of our digging and discovering into the ink of ou …

Dawna Markova PhD is cofounder and CEO Emeritus of Professional Thinking Partners. An inspirational speaker, writer, researcher, and teacher, she is internationally known for her asset-focused work in the fields of perception, learning, and identifying core cognitive competencies.

Angie McArthur is the CEO of Professional Thinking Partners, and has cofacilitated and designed global conferences, leadership retreats, training programs, and ongoing one-on-one Thinking Partnerships in organizations from nonprofits to Fortune 500s.

The two are coauthors of books including Reconcilable Differences: Connecting in a Disconnected World (Random House, 2017), from which this article was adapted. 


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