Notes From Ed Text

You Can Disagree With Someone’s ‘How’ But Still Like Their ‘What’

Disliking How Not What Notes From Ed


A month ago, I broke down the nuances of “what” and “how”, and described situations where there can be many “hows” branching off from a single “what”. In case you missed it, you can check it out here.

Today I want to discuss how disagreeing with one does not automatically mean you disagree with the other.

Honest people can disagree or be confused by the choices of how, or have different personal preferences as to which one they want to do, yet they can still agree that the underlying cause or goal is a good idea.

Let’s say the what in a particular scenario is to end world hunger. That’s a pretty good cause, right? Famine and food insecurity is a pervasive problem, and it should be one we could solve.

I think we can all agree that it’s a human tragedy if people don’t have food, so let’s try to make something that would make that plight disappear. If someone came up with a communist-like solution, taking food from others and regularly redistributing it, that’s a how. I might disagree, but that doesn’t mean the implied corollary is that I don’t care that people are hungry–I do care! I just disagree that a forced redistribution is the only answer or approach.

Other people may want more of a “teach them to fish” philosophy and limited direct support.  Others may want a non-governmental how of reliance upon private philanthropy, churches and not-for-profit approaches. Can you see that there could be many hows for the same what?

Take a look at this cartoon of this conundrum:

Disliking How Not What Notes From Ed Kopko

Many of these battles turn personal because people think you’re fighting against the what, when you’re actually disagreeing with the how. Fighting against the how doesn’t mean you’re against the what.

I actually think that as a people, we fight more often over the hows than the whats. This applies to a lot of problems and their proposed solutions, from tackling hunger… to mask- and vaccine mandates.

Do people want the COVID pandemic to end and have the world go back to normal? Certainly!
Can reasonable people disagree on the ways we can return to normalcy? Certainly! It’s just important to keep in mind that disagreeing with the how does not mean disagreement with the what.

Remember: opening the door to one what can lead to a multitude of hows, but being apprehensive about trying one of those subsequent how doors means only one thing: You disagree with the how, not the what!

Learning and applying the nuance of what and how can become an important skill in helping you achieve your Bold life and goals.  As I have shared, being able to build support for your goals is critical. Challenges are more frequently encountered in the how.

P.S. Last week’s celebration of National Pierogi Day got some coverage in AP News, Marketwatch and other outlets. Did you check out the fun?

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Ed Kopko

Project Bold Life

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