Understanding

aloneOver the last month or so, I found myself avoiding conversations before and after my Men’s meetings … and sitting by myself at breaks.  I wasn’t being consciously anti-social, but there I was, feeling alone in a room full of people.  I was fairly sure other people noticed, too, but nobody ever said anything, so who knows?    But it bothered me.  So, naturally, being an analytical kind of guy, I tried to figure out why I was doing it.  Isn’t that the way an engineer solves a problem … understanding the root cause then addressing it?   I came up with several good theories.   I’m feeling sheepish about several decisions I’ve made lately and I don’t want to hear anyone’s comments.   I have nothing to say to these people (even though I’ve chatted at breaks with these people at breaks for a least ten years).   My ego is running amok, making me either arrogant or defensive.   Nothing helped.

I decided to talk to my friend, Ralph, about it during our weekly walk in the park with his dog, Lilly.  He (and Lilly) listened patiently to all my explanations and theories. Then he said, Bud, if you were a newcomer, here’s what I’d tell you. Don’t worry about understanding why you’re doing it. At the next meeting, just start talking to whoever’s next to you. And keep doing it. At the next meeting, I struck up a conversation with someone I’d never talked to before, and at the break, someone else. After the meeting, someone came over and started talking to me. I’ll be damned, I thought.

Here’s the thing. In my business, engineering, understanding a problem is a necessary step in solving it. As a scientist … and a man … I sometimes forget that human relationships are not an engineering problem. And while understanding why I behave in a certain way may sometimes be helpful in changing my behavior, often, it’s better to just change it and figure out why later.   What a concept !!!

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One Comment on “Understanding”

  1. SandySays1 Says:

    What a concept is so true – Several times I’ve been faced with a mountain of tasks. I’ve been rudely awakened to the fact that you can plan yourself into oblivion. Just doing it (with a like thought) is great advice.


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