Is that the most important thing?

Seth shared a powerful post yesterday.

If you want to have an argument, to raise tempers or to distract, the easiest thing to do is start bringing up things that are easy to argue about.

Not the things that are important.

Because the important things require nuance, patience and understanding. They require an understanding of goals, of the way the world works and our mutual respect.

If someone keeps coming back to an irrelevant, urgent or provocative point instead, they’re signaling that they’d rather not talk about the important thing.

Which is precisely what we need to talk about.

It hit me hard as it reminded me of a derailed meeting I was part of recently. It derailed precisely because we fell into the trap of arguing about something that didn’t matter.

I didn’t prod enough to unearth the question behind the question. I just took the bait and fell hook, line, and sinker.

“Is this the most important thing we should be discussing to make progress?” is a powerful question to ask. It keeps us moving forward.

We need more of that.

I certainly need to do a better job asking this more often.