A stimuli elicits a reaction, it incites a response.
Much of what we read, write, tweet, say, and do can be classified as a stimulus, particularly if it alters the behavior or thoughts of someone else.
What concerns me is that most people only say and do things that they hope others will agree with. This is especially true in the workplace.
Equally concerning is that most people only seek out information that is self affirming.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, media outlets sensationalize ridiculous stimuli merely for the sake of a reaction. “Who cares about 100 angry comments,” they say. “If they pass it along to 500 people our ad revenue will soar on this story.”
There’s a reason I read intelligent books, articles, and essays about running barefooted, eating a Paleo diet, Ron Paul, and the state of marriage.
It’s not because I believe everything the authors write is gospel, and it’s not because I’m actively seeking to change my mind.
Reading things that challenge the status quo and/or oppose my own core values/belief system/internal dialogue require me to re-evaluate where I stand on these issues.
More importantly instead of just saying “That’s outlandish,” or nodding my head in quiet agreement, I’m forced into the process of absorbing a multitude of information, evaluating that information, and then evaluating what I think based on that information.
Often I come out feeling the same way I did before, but with a respect for the opposing view point and an increased ability to articulate my own vantage point as a result. Every now and then there’s enough evidence, logic, and first person testing (in some cases) to convert me to the other side.
Let’s stop writing about why Google + won’t kill Facebook, but that Quora and Twitter should be scared and start creating higher quality stimuli. Lets write and share content that challenges the status quo, or at the very least requires people to dig a little deeper.