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Monday, September 23, 2013

It's So Simple To Be Afraid...

Hey, guys, Target put their seasonal wine and beer at the end of three adjacent aisles of Halloween candy...Great idea...

I have noticed a trend within my time on this earth, actually, no, I embodied the trend for most of my life and just began paying attention to it about two years ago.  What I am referring to is questions and the way we go about asking them, as well as how those who are questioned tend to react.  Straightforward, right?  
Not so much as you may think...

Have you ever noticed how the most difficult thing to do when writing something formal or semi-formal is putting down the first few words?  I struggle with this every time I write a blog, and now since I am compiling these blogs into a book, I fight the issue when beginning every new chapter.  We tend to pay the most attention to the introductory words of the text we pen down because everything else trailing after that depends upon it.  When considering myself, I do the same when hearing a new song because if the first few bars contain anything related to "gold teeth, rims, bitches, or money" I have heard enough already and do not care to continue in most cases.  What does this have to do with questioning?  Hang on, I am getting there.

We have all been in a position of needing to say something to someone else that we really did not want to.  Anyone who has ever run a business before knows this has a tendency to happen much more often than in our personal lives.  Actually, I take that back because if you surround yourself with dramatic people who continually act like pre-pubescent minors, this could also happen in your daily life, but stick with me.  As has happened to me far too many times, I have taken the plunge into difficult situations by going about them entirely wrong and just throwing my side out there without listening to the other party at the same time.  Have you ever wondered why arguments generally get nowhere?  Much of it has to do with two or more people trying to talk over each other - that never works, and I lived there for a long time, but what can we do about that?

Thinking back to when we were in elementary school, there were three types of kids in class:
-The kid who never asked questions.
-The kid who only asked questions when she/he needed to.
-The kid who asked so many questions you wanted to beat him to death with your Trapper Keeper.
(I'm showing my age now. Rise up, 90's kids...)
Even though we all grew up as a kid with one of those attributes that most of us carried into adulthood, our teachers always told us to never be afraid to ask a question if we needed to do so.  I heard this from preschool and all the way into college, but the thing is, as I said before, most of us have retained the same trait we identified with as children until this very day as far as questions are concerned.

My point is, regardless of which kid we were in school, so many of us are so quick to jump into an important situation with the idea that we will be the only one holding a voice.  
How often has that one worked out for you, Sparky?
Through all of the latter, we end up running within a mess of a circle where nobody knows what is going on and no progress or resolution has been reached.  What I have figured out, however, is that approaching someone with a well-rounded and non-invasive question to get the ball rolling, generally gets us to a good starting point.
But:
-The kid who never asked questions will be afraid to.
-The kid who asked questions when appropriate often over-thinks the situation.
-The kid you wanted to beat to death screwed up the situation long before reaching that point.

Breaking out of whatever of the three question-oriented mindsets we evolved into is the key in honing our approach skills.  A well-rounded question can begin any conversation, whether good, bad, or full of uncertainty in a much more effective way than jumping right into the relationship circle of death.  Yet, so many of us are afraid to do even that and charge in without intending to listen anyway.

Sure, there are the unreasonable, mentally-inept pillocks out there who respond to nothing with any sense of understanding, but I have found them to be a distinct minority.  Most people like to be asked an appropriate question because then they are engaged and contributing to whatever issue or event you are making an attempt at discussing.  One-sided approaches never work, but finding an expressive compromise between two people or bodies of people can make the process much less complicated, as well as much less likely to have someone talking over another person.

Actions are threatening,
Ignoring an issue is damaging.
Thought-provoking questions are just as described. 

But thinking about the kid who asked questions just to hear his own voice still gets under my skin...

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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The lyrics in the title of this blog came from this song:


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