Talk is cheap. I know, I talk a lot, but I stand by that statement, talk is cheap.
I spend a lot of time playing pencil and paper RPGs. I have played in games with larger groups before, which is always fun, but most often, I play with my husband solo and I enjoy that because I can take the game in the way I want, which is almost always a heavily social character who is out to change the world. During these games, one of the components is that you have to have compelling arguments, which means you have to know how to argue, you have to know how to debate, and you have to anticipate how the other side is going to respond and ideally, preemptively counter their argument.
I do enjoy a good debate (though I'm very much true conflict avoidant). And I would argue that I'm quite good at it. As a child, I routinely flustered adults and got my own way often.
With all that being said, I am here to say that talk does not change people's mindIf someone is open to listening and debating and truly taking in someone else's viewpoints then you can make change through debate. But, if someone isn't open to listening, you can't change their point of view until they're open to listening.
That means I don't waste my time arguing on the internet. The two exceptions are: on my own social media pages. If someone presents something I don't agree with, then I'm going to provide a counterpoint and if it becomes combative or aggressive then I'm just going to cut off the thread and if they don't quit, I'm going to unfriend or block them. The other time where I will present an argument is not to change someone else's mind, but when I think there are other people more receptive, who might be listening. And at that point, my goal is to sound like the reasonable one (which I hope I am in the first place) and to present a convincing argument to the audience that I know is watching.
Why do I talk so much it I don't believe talk or to change people's minds? Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, talk can have a great effect to convince a receptive audience. The other thing that I think is very important is you don't get to talk about what other people are doing and how you disagree. Doing that is only going to alienate those who are watching.
What you can do is present yourself in the best light you possibly can. Help people understand that the choices you make are not done at random. And while a motivation may seem obvious and irresponsible to you, trust there are reasons behind what you do.
Take intending to breed Tabiri, who is positive for autoimmune thyroiditis. How could I consider this? The thing is, Azawakh hadn't a small genepool and genetic diversity is important. If we eliminate every dog with a treatable, manageable condition from the genepool then we have no genepool left. Instead breeding a dog with a treatable condition to a non afflicted one can maintain diversity while also improving health.
If it was an issue that truly impacted my dog's lifespan or my dog's quality of life my attitude and approach would be completely different.
I do talk a lot about my decisions and processes in as accurate a manner as possible. That being said, it's really hard to do that in an online platform and I would argue it's in fact much easier to misconstrue yourself either intentionally or not. I try to be aware I post about temperament and how I am not looking for a friendly Azawakh in my breeding program Yet people routinely accuse me of looking for friendly Azawakh because my Azawakh are routinely in the public eye, but are simultaneously non-reactive. From an online only platform, it could be easy to conflate the two.
But when people meet me in real life, I want their reaction to be: "Oh, absolutely everything you've said about yourself and your dogs is true."
But despite the importance of transparency and explaining my actions, ultimately, my goal is to demo and model the behavior that I want to see from other people.
I used to be a shift supervisor at Starbucks. When I was working in technical theater the work wasn't always full time. So I had a part time Starbucks gig and then grew into a full time gig and then eventually I ended up with carpal tunnel bad enough I quit. I actually didn't dislike the work. The people were great. I enjoy coffee. There was a lot to learn and while I was there, the company treated me well.
We used to have people from corporate come and shadow a partner (what they call employees) in the stores so that they could see what goes on, which I love because, again, model the behavior you want to see, understand the people that you're representing. But what one of the people from corporate told my at the end of the day has stuck with me to this day, almost a decade later.
It was a bad morning. We had equipment broken, were short handed, had a much larger rush than normal, several coffee travelers to fill that we hadn't known about. My coworkers were starting to break down under the pressure, because it was an unusual amount of pressure. Through all of that I just kept smiling. Not in a grit your teeth kind of way. In a setting an example, will things to improve, laugh your way through kind of way. I remember smiling so hard that my face hurt. I wanted them to see that we could get through it together. And slowly I felt my coworkers start to relax, the line subsided. Someone arrived to fix the equipment.
But we did get through the morning rush, we'd clocked good numbers, good bad feedback from customers and everyone was smiling and the guy from corporate turned to me and was like I didn't know what difference a smile could make. I but you just kept smiling and everyone else followed. Even under adversity, and there was a lot of it that day, I got positive attitudes because that's what I modeled.
I am going to work hard. I am going to learn constantly. And be receptive. And decide when I do has something I want to implement and when I can see the other person's point but I'm not going to implement it myself. And I am going to do what I think is best, which is all you can do, and not push it on other people. But let them see why I do what I do.
So, at the end of the day, talk really is cheap