Two key aspects of Colin Wright’s writing and philosophy are personal flexibility in our growth and seeking out multiple perspectives for how one interprets any aspect of life. Wright has an incredible ability to see more than what is in front of him, and to adopt the perspectives of others. He tries to live a very flexible and free life by determining his own path and searching for meaning and reason in his own way. Many of his decisions center around the idea of how much freedom, time, and options his choices provide him. In his book Act Accordingly the author ties this idea in with philosophy, “All else being equal, a job that would give you greater flexibility in terms of promotion would be better than the alternative, and the same goes for a philosophy. A set of beliefs and personal rules that allow for a great deal of evolution and growth are superior to ones that do not.”
What I love about this quote is that Wright breaks down his definition of philosophy for us in a simple and clear way. According to Wright, a philosophy is not something contained in a dusty book on a shelf, and philosophy is not limited to politics or religion. Instead, a philosophy is a set of ideas, rules, guidelines, beliefs, and emotions related to any area of life. We can have personal philosophies about driving, keeping our house clean, developing a work ethic, or even a philosophy about cat videos. What is being advocated for in Act Accordingly is the development of personal philosophies that accept multiple perspectives. Wright spends much of his time reading, and he has come to understand that as we read we learn and see things from new perspectives. For him, it is crazy to develop personal philosophies in any area that limit our possibilities and ability to change. As we grow and learn throughout life our ideas and positions will shift, and it is important that we have a personal philosophy that will allow those belief systems to change with us.
The author is also advocating that we search out as many new perspectives as possible. In our work lives we will constantly be looking for new opportunities, promotions, and ways to expand what we do, but we don’t always think to do this with our personal philosophies. It is difficult to encounter ideas and perspectives that seem to run against the philosophies that we have developed, but if we never explore the perspectives and ideas of others we never grow. I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is studying at a private christian university. He and I have very different religious views, but we both value that we can have discussions regarding our views that present our ideas and backgrounds without becoming argumentative and explosive. At one point during his discussion he said to me that he was disappointed that many of his classmates never explored ideas of people from other religious backgrounds or those who lived without a religious belief system. In his mind, by not exploring difficult and often scary ideas that do not align with those that we already have, we miss out on a chance to understand our ideas better. This is at the heart of Colin Wright’s philosophy, and it is only by pushing ourselves to expand our thoughts and perspectives that we grow and better understand others.