Every month I get a book full of charts. There are all kinds of charts – trends, comparisons, and raw data. I often wonder what they really say to others. As we discuss them, there are a lot of questions. At times I find myself wondering aloud how one could draw the conclusions that are offered. It could be that I do not have the right context. On the other hand, maybe the person answering the question is as confused as I am.
Context, our framework of looking at life often shapes our conclusion. In the multicultural context of Singapore, it is good practice to ask before drawing conclusions. As obvious as this seems, I often do exactly what the observers did in an old story when a snake bit a man. “They kept expecting him to drop dead, but when it was obvious he wasn’t going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!” (Acts 28.6) Why ask when the truth is obvious?
With a bit of history and hindsight, everything is obvious. We know the decisions everyone should take. We see confusion with clarity. We even understand the impossible. I know my insight and understand applies to anyone but me; I had to deal with extenuating circumstances.
I was reminded of the wisdom of silence. Listening is often more important than talking. Hearing with the intent to learn and in that learning respond is a mantra that serves all well.
I am in the middle of a business decision that has no obvious answers. There are lots of charts and calculations. Conclusions are offered with the intent of gaining my agreement. There are many reasons to agree and move on. Yet, the details are confusing. I do not understand what is being said. I started to respond today, then suddenly stopped. I realized I needed to listen. There may be an obvious answer in the pages I have read. If there is, it is not obvious. It is time to ask, reflecting on the words I hear. Wisdom will come, with time.