Welcome to Insights and Implications!
Have you been perplexed by another person’s behavior? Have you wondered what to do or how to intervene? Have you been at a loss in certain situations? In this month’s newsletter, Robin Charbit explains why you get stuck and shares a helpful yet simple strategy.
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To be of service, we always start by trying to understand how the person is thinking about the situation. We usually jointly uncover that they don’t actually know what’s happening. They have assumptions, guesses and projections but mostly they don’t actually know.
This is normal and typical. We are thinking creatures. We see what is happening through our thinking in the moment. As we think about it, our mind creates a reality. We forget that this reality is based on our thinking about the situation and not what happened. This is why two people in the same situation often have different views. We all know this when we think about it but in the moment, we mostly forget. Good luck sorting out a situation that you don’t truly understand!
Fortunately, there is a simple remedy: ask questions.
When we go to a foreign country or new city, to get around, to make sense of the place, we ask questions. For example, when visiting Spain, it’s good to know that they eat really late at night. This is not about good or bad or right and wrong, but about the prevailing reality you are stepping into. If you want to navigate that reality efficiently, it is helpful to understand it.
While this is an obvious thing to do in a new place, we mostly forget to do the same with the humans in our lives.
When we remember to ask questions, a number of interesting things happen. First, we get to see the mental world of the other person, the topography of their thinking. This explains why they are experiencing what they are experiencing and why they did (or didn’t) do what they did (or didn’t do). Then, armed with this understanding, we often get insights about what might be helpful. Having bumped up against this phenomenon many times, I now remain curious and keep asking questions until I see something useful. This might take a few conversations. Sometimes it happens quickly. Either way, unless I get an insight, I know I’m flying blind.
We all live in a deeply personal world created by our thinking. The beautiful design of the mind crafts this thinking into an exquisitely real reality (good, bad or indifferent). It’s not a choice, it’s just how it is. When we realize that we’re all living in our own country, it makes sense to ask directions!