There is but one reality; that is true—but the two of you experience it in slightly different ways.
-The Cinder Spires by Jim Butcher
Based on your experiences, goals, and personality you will experience the world in a different way than all other people you meet. The difference might be really small or very big. But we all focus on, see, and remember different things. This will cause a lot of conflicts and frustrations. But it will also create amazing solutions, make us learn new things and see problems in a different way.
We often need the similarities to start collaborating and getting to know one another. Then we need the differences to creates something unique.
“Would you like to come inside,” she said. It wasn’t a question. For a sentence to be a question, you had to care about the other person’s answer.”
–Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
Lots of leadership courses focus on teaching people to ask more and better questions. The challenge with asking questions is that you first must want to listen to the answers, and then you have to have the time and will to use it.
Many people have already decided what to do, but still try to include people by asking for their opinion. Other people don’t want to hear the feedback and will change the questions to make it very clear what they want to hear: Was the presentation good? Do you like it here?
You first have to make it ok to fail and be wrong in your organization, before people will start asking better questions.
“I think I was afraid to go all in,” she says. “Because all in is terrifying. With all in, you lose everything.”
– Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill
It can be a project, a meeting, a coffee break conversation, playing with your children, or talking to your loved one. You can try to be fully present in that moment or you could check your phone, read your emails, or plan the next day. There is something scary about being fully present in most things, because if you are then you might miss out on something else. You might not respond to that email fast enough, or be the last one to share a funny video on Facebook. What else is scary about being present it that it might require a bit more of yourself to stay present; that you actually speak when you don’t agree, and that you actually take the time to really think about and feel what is happening with the people around you.
And that you leave if you would rather go all in somewhere else…
“You could find out most things, if you knew the right questions to ask. Even if you didn’t, you could still find out a lot.”
– Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games
The important thing is not that you ask the perfect question that will reveal everything or that the person you asked the question completely changes their view of the world. The important thing is that you ask questions, and listens to the answers. Then based on the answer you could ask another question and slowly get to the heart of the matter. Or you could choose to go and ask someone else questions.
“it had been briefed that when Culture people didn’t speak Marain for a long time and did speak another language, they were liable to change; they acted differently, they started to think in that other language, they lost the carefully balanced interpretative structure of the Culture language, left its subtle shifts of cadence, tone and rhythm behind for, in virtually every case, something much cruder.”
– Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games
What we say and how we say it shows who we are and also makes us more of that person. Our brain will focus more on the things we talk about and then we will see more of those things and then we will talk more about them. Is this the circle of life? 🙂
“Sometimes what goes without saying is best said anyway.”
– Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
One of the most common mistakes that I see other people do, and my self quite often as well: It is to end a meeting or a conversation without summing up what was decided upon. It might seem perfectly obvious to you, and it probably is perfectly obvious to all the other people there. The problem is that in many cases what is perfectly obvious might not be the same thing for everyone there.
I know that when ye think o’ love you’re supposed to think of kissy faces and scented soap and hummin’ happy songs together, but there’s another vital part to it that people rarely admit to themselves: We want somebody to rescue us from other people. From talking to them, I mean, or from the burden of giving a damn about what they say. We don’t want to be polite and stifle our farts, now, do we? We want to let ’em rip and we want to be with someone who won’t care if we do, who will love us regardless and fart right back besides.
– Kevin Hearne, Staked
There is nothing else to add. The quote explains love perfectly! 🙂
‘Hand speak expresses things that are either too basic to waste words on or too personal.’ ‘Too personal?’ ‘Yeah, stuff that’s really important or hard to say. Like about love or hate or stuff you’re scared about. You know how when you have something big to tell someone, you stammer through it or sit in front of your mirror practising what to say? Aandrisks don’t bother with that. They let the gestures take care of all the awkwards. They figure that big, deep feelings are universal enough to be defined with just a flick of the hand or whatever, even though the events that cause those feelings are unique.’
– Becky Chambers, The long way to a small angry planet
Research by Paul Ekman states that we have six basic emotions that are recognized across all human cultures: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. It’s interesting that four of them are negative, only one positive, and then one that could be either positive or negative (surprise).
I can’t remember where I read it but someone explained that the difference between emotions and feelings is: emotions turns into feelings when we become conscious of them and stark thinking about them. I like this distinction because it can make it much easier to think about my basic emotions and differentiate them from all the stories I create in my mind based on what happened.
Another good distinction is made in non violent communication where they separate thinking and feeling in a similar way.
“The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.”
– Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon
When we join a new organisation, we get a new role or become part of a new team we can easily see all the strange behaviours and norms that they have. After a while, the strange behaviors and norms seem to disappear, and we become blind to them as well.
As a manager or coach, we have an enormous challenge when we get new people on board. This first period is when people are least likely to give feedback, but it is also the time when we need to ask them for it.