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Time to think differently?

To the editor:

After reading the various letters regarding the mayor, the Development Board and the code enforcement officials, it has become apparent to me that maybe it’s time to think differently. When individuals in leadership are attacked, the normal human response is to defend. You can read various Saranac Lake officials choosing sides and defending the code, their position or the mayor. There are also individuals who can relate to the complaints and are choosing sides with those that are complaining. This is also the normal human response. It’s called confirmation bias. You can watch it on TV with all the polarized discussions occurring daily. Normally we humans seek information that we agree with. When we all nod together, we assume we have a collective of people that agree they are on the “right” side.

To be clear, when everyone agrees, it does not necessarily mean they are “right.” It means they agree. More importantly, when one person disagrees, that is the most important perspective in the room. We should want to know why that person or group of people have that perspective. Looking at each other’s perspective and applying logic and compromise is how solutions are made. That occurs by listening, collaborating and compromising.

Rather than attack the mayor or the code enforcement officers, we should be interested in why at least four general contractors, that I know of, will not work in the village of Saranac Lake. When the code is followed by the letter, are we assuming the humans who developed the code are perfect? IS there a link between failed and abandoned projects and the lack of workers available in Saranac Lake to keep businesses open full time? Rather than take a defense posture, defending against perceived arguments and attacks, how about recognize that people’s perceptions arise from somewhere. Finding solutions to change those perspectives is what is needed.

J.K. Rowling brought her book to 12 editors. They all turned “Harry Potter” down. The 13th editor gave Chapter 1 of the book to his boss’s 8-year-old. The child was so excited, the editor published the book. The editor took the perspective of one 8-year-old over the advice of 12 editors. When everyone agrees, the person that can provide the most insight is the one who disagrees. Maybe if we listen to those who are frustrated instead of defending the human-made code, we can look for solutions to improve our village.

I believe everyone involved has that common goal: to improve the village of Saranac Lake. If the unintended result is discouragement, then it’s time to change the tactics. Who will listen?

Bill Martin

Think Tank Project LLC

Saranac Lake

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