It is easy to forget the goal. I am competitive. In an admission based on self-awareness, I am naturally competitive in everything I do. I like winning! In context, I find it easy to overlook the fact that conversations are rarely about winning. In conversations, the goal can be sharing, dialogue, or developing ideas. In presentations, the purpose is sharing information or education. Winning is achieve the goal or realizing the purpose. It is not about my ideas trumping yours.
I was given some advice the other day that I am still coming to grips with. On the surface, it made no sense. The specific suggest was that I use fewer facts and figures, especially when the person I was talking with did have any of her/his own. It caught me off-guard. How could using facts and figures not be a good idea?
The answer to why the advice is relevant began to reveal itself when I was reading a Wisdom Father’s writings. “Whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.” (1 John 2.11)
If a man is blind, will adding to light to the situation change his blindness?
A blind individual needs many things, however, light is usually not on the list. At the top of the needs list are a friend to be a guide, a walking stick, or blind-friendly intersections. I am sure there are many others, all more useful than a flashlight.
Which brings me back to the advice. There was a message within the message, a question within the advice. Were my facts and figures helpful or a hammer? Was my purpose to help or win?
There is no question that others are not playing fair. It is as if they can have their conclusions no matter what the facts are. While this may be true, responding to win may only mean that I lose. The purpose is to bring them along with me in a story. The goal is to walk together. The conversation begins today.