Bridging the divides: Tim Shriver on the benefit of doubt

Nov 16, 2021, 4:53 PM


SALT LAKE CITY — In an era filled with pessimism and contempt for our fellow man, KSL NewsRadio host Boyd Matheson says it’s important to look deep within ourselves to come to a better understanding. Matheson asked Tim Shriver how we can move from a culture of division to one that unites us.

‘We are in a moment of crisis’

On Friday, Nov. 12, Matheson spoke on the air with Tim Shriver, an American disability rights activist, chairman of the Special Olympics since 1996, and current chief executive officer at UNITE. 

Shriver said that, in his travels, he has seen many Americans who sense we are in a moment of crisis as a nation. And he said that, with the way Americans seem to be moving, we are not going in the right direction to overcome our differences. 

And this thought process, Shriver said, has shifted between the two dies of the American political aisle. 

I think there’s a moment now where people on both sides of the political divide, cultural divides, religious divides, racial divides, both sides seem to be sensing that we’ve all got to change.

“I don’t think people necessarily know what to change, and they don’t want to change their principles or their beliefs, but there is an openness to an alternative now.” 

Presume positive intent

An exercise he uses to teach young people involves presuming positive intent.. 

“While thinking of this person, most of us will presume negative intent,” said Shriver. “We have concluded that they have bad intentions.” 

In order to best reset our mind structure, it’s important to reverse our mind process. And, to recognize that the vast majority of Americans are trying the hardest they can. 

Despite our fears, our limitations, our family histories, whatever, we are all trying to do the right thing.” 

This doesn’t mean we have to agree with each other. It does mean that we should merely try to give each other the benefit of the doubt.  

“I’ll listen to you and be curious about your solution rather than hating you because I’ve concluded that you’re a bad actor.”

Here is the full interview:

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Bridging the divides: Tim Shriver on the benefit of doubt