interesting thoughts & events

Journal Entry – 07/09/19

People work differently.

Some, like my wife, are “tactile” and prefer to touch, to feel, and to interact physically with what they work on. Activities like knitting, completing jigsaw puzzles, and physical art forms are satisfying for her.

Others, like myself, are “cerebral” and prefer to dream, to theorize, and to try to make sense of the world in a more intellectual way (though the crack of a wooden baseball bat on a white leather ball is also a great feeling).

I think it’s important to understand how people prefer to engage the world and to find ways of interacting that are helpful for them but also meaningful for you. I don’t think it’s one or the other.

For example, I was given a printout from a more tactile person who wanted me to take a pen to it and write in estimates for a process this person was trying to develop. My initial internal reaction to this was “Why?”.

I would much rather have it in spreadsheet form so I can add calculations and notes as I try to figure out what the estimates should be. I also could see right away that some items couldn’t be estimated in the way he wanted because the process didn’t really work the way he thought (I know – I developed the process).

That led to quite the jarring moment for me as I realized I needed to somehow respond in a way that was meaningful to him while simultaneously being meaningful to me. I had to communicate essentially across paradigms, across very different ways of thinking and working. It’s a tricky obstacle to overcome. So how does one do that?

I think the answer to that is “The same as always… you put your right foot in.” In other words, you start with what you know and are comfortable and confident with. Some of these estimates I might actually be able to calculate, while others I can’t. I’ll need to put my left foot in as I address the items that seem awkward to me, those that don’t really work the way he thinks they work, and find a way to communicate that and perhaps even an alternative way of viewing this that he’ll find helpful as right hand, left hand, and head get into the game.

In the end I’ll have to overcome my resistance to doing this, ignoring the feeling that this will be used to micromanage me (which does NOT suit me), and find a way to put my whole self in so that his goals and needs are met… but so are mine. This is going to take some work. So I’d better get busy.

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