Watching the way in which the Australian political landscape is changing at the moment, it looks like some of the issues arise when politicians hold on to their own convictions rather than listening to the electorate which they represent. This can then be seen as arrogance or ignorance about the needs of voters and the general public.
Yet some very successful politicians or other people of vision are often acknowledged and even become known for having the courage of their convictions which made them achieve greatness, satisfying themselves and others along the way. So just what makes the difference then? How can some people have the courage of their convictions and make changes or plan new things while bringing people along with them? How would you know when your ideas are missing the mark? Who lets you know? How do you balance your ideas with what others have as their vision as well?
So it could be that those people who can keep the courage of their convictions and bring people along with them are truly special. Special in the way they are in tune with the needs and wishes of others. Perhaps in fact they are in tune and open to making adaptations to their vision to respond to what they are hearing. Using listening to refine their plans, to respect the views of others as legitimate and worthy of incorporating into their own views, ensuring that they are making their own convictions holistic and real.
The risk of having our own convictions is that we can feel so strongly about them, feel that we are the only ones that have the vision and therefore we donít want any other ideas to tamper with our vision. Perhaps some visionaries have been able to pull this off, to be successful while holding on to their own vision and not been overly influenced by others. Perhaps they were truly ahead of the pack and knew what would work when others couldn't see it. Perhaps these days with technology and the expectation of citizens that they will not only have a voice but their voice will be heard and ideas incorporated, this is no longer as likely to be successful.
Perhaps it matters whatís at stake. If itís a design of a building which some people will love and others will hate, it might not really matter. It will become a great point of discussion (like Melbourneís Federation Square perhaps) and as long as it is functional people will learn to live with it. If itís something more like a political decision which will affect the actual lives of many people it may be much more risky to hold onto strong views. Particularly for a politician who is expected to be representing the views of the people. Perhaps we are just beginning to see how important this is in Australia.