A friend sent me a graphic that hits home, given that one of the realities of being a writer is that people will regularly disagree with you.
The Disagreement Pyramid, a play on the Food Pyramid, puts the most constructive criticism at the top of the pyramid, illustrating its rarity. The most common type of comments fall to the the bottom of the pyramid — the destructive, useless comments. Created by Loudacris, the pyramid is based on an article by Paul Graham.
To make sense of this masterpiece, I turned to Dave Marcus — a friend from the security industry who tends to disagree with more than half of what I write in this blog.
I’ve always viewed my friendship with Dave as an example of how you can disagree and debate in gentlemanly fashion. We don’t call each other names or accuse each other of attacks, except for when we’re kidding around. But it’s not always easy. Dave once condemned one of my posts as “escapism and blame.”
More recently, he expressed frustration with my posts about burnout in our industry and suggested I was simply projecting my issues onto everyone else.
So I asked him which category we fall under on this Disagreement Pyramid.
“All of them, actually,” he said.
People often hate to be criticized. We like to think we’re special and that our words are gold. But, really, we’re usually expressing ourselves in a moment of time — which means we don’t always have all the necessary evidence at the time we’re making an argument.
I’m certainly guilty of that, though not as much as Dave might think.
That’s why we writers need our critics: They keep us honest and make us better.
I’m less likely to listen to people who use the tactics at the bottom of the pyramid, but I’ll always have an ear for folks like Dave.
And when we’re old men and I’m wearing a hearing aid from all those years of loud music, I’ll simply switch it off when I think he’s going too far.
I’d like to think he’d do the same to me.