How saying outrageous or provocative things can activate your full worth

It may be a little counterintuitive, but sometimes saying outrageous things is morally praiseworthy. Saying outrageous things allows us to test the boundaries of our assumptions, to help determine where the truth lies, and be more understanding of divergent opinions.

I use "thought experiments" based on that concept to teach critical thinking in my PR ethics courses. I pair students into teams, ask each one to take a position on a hot-button issue, and then to spend a few minutes arguing the exact opposite of their own position. When freed from their guiding assumptions, many students end up saying outrageous things. Many students don't, but they all learn about critically analyzing an issue from multiple perspectives.

The exercise seems kind of crazy, and is usually met with some uncomfortable laughter as we get started. But exploring counter-ideas this way really works to help understand rationales, boundaries, and why you believe something.



Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free