Thursday, April 15, 2010

Complicated Factors

Life has a way of racing out of control. Left to its own devices, the pace of life can cause us to become victims of the life we are trying to lead.

And that is a bad thing.

The hardest part is to try to understand the motivation behind the often competing requests and even harder--to separate fact from imagination.

I have noticed that we tend to naturally impose our own reasoning on a situation and when something happened we say things like: "What they meant was . . . " or even "They did that because . . ." and the truth be known--we really don't know the meaning or the cause. But we need to create one to either justify our own actions or to put meaning into a situation. Even though--we really don't know what is really going on.

I've had a conversation where someone tries to tell me why I did something or said something--and here's the rub, they argued with me when I told them they were wrong!

So let me get this straight--I'm me and you're you, and you know my motivation for saying or doing something so well that when I try to explain it to you that you argue with me and presume to tell me I'm wrong?

That, friends, is a complicated factor!

When we imprint our own understanding on a situation or an action, we complicate the activity by masking the facts with the presumption. It is like when driving and someone changes lanes suddenly in front of us and we need to avoid them--we assess that they were inattentive or distracted while talking on a cell phone. Some of us spend a lot of brain power on that--and cause our own driving problems or blood pressure issues. In reality--we don't know why it happened--and we don't need to know the why, just the fact of the sudden lane change we needed to avoid.

In relationships, we complicate situations by trying to infer motivation for actions--when we what we really need to do is address the fact of the action--and allow the motivation to play out. We use the motivation to rationalize our response--especially if it is retaliatory or inconsistent with our normal behavior.

Yes--it is important to understand the broader situation, and it is OK to have a hypothesis--but to move from hypothesis to assumed fact based upon nothing other that intuition is dangerous. Seek data. Ask questions which probe and help expose the underlying situation. It is probably very different from what we believe (or want to believe).

I have seen many occasions where people believe the worst about a person and presume that they are being deceitful or mean-spirited. But it could be, and most likely is, something far less nefarious like just not appreciating the dynamics of the people and situation, or acting naively.

We also complicate situations be trying to determine "fair"--or more accurately when we believe someone is being less than fair to us and we do not believe we are getting what we deserve. Then the labels start going out--"they like ____ better," or "they don't like me," "poor me," "I deserve ___."

Fair does not mean equal--especially to someone who believes they are getting the short end of the stick! If you look at the definitions, you will find that equal is not a synonym for fair.

We need to allow people to make decisions and assume "noble intent." When we do not, we begin to create problems which may not really exist.

Strive to uncomplicate life by keeping the peripheral issues just that--peripheral. It will allow more time to focus on activity and fact rather than stewing about an incorrect perception. It will help keep the pace of life manageable by allowing us to focus more brain power on what really matters.

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