Saturday, September 16, 2006

My Mistake - Misunderstanding

Like an old house that need a lot of improvements...

I’m a 42-year old guy who makes many mistakes, too many that only God knows the real counts. One of the greatest mistakes is being misunderstood or failing to understand. I consider misunderstanding as one of the greatest mistakes I’ve been making because of two main reasons: Lack of communication skills thus lead me to keep doing it.

Communicating is not just about talking or writing or sending messages or commenting or analyzing etc but it is about two parties sharing thoughts or ideas or data or anything which requires both sides to listen and to talk.

My computer and the internet are demonstrating a very good definition of communicating. This is where my modem sends a signal to a server somewhere in the world, the server then receives the signal, and the server does the processing and sends back another signal to my modem which is then processed by my computer.

Given the analogy, talking is then sending a signal and listening is then receiving and processing the signal. Talking is then an action while listening is then of two actions. When people say listening is very hard to do, I do agree. I do hear but do I listen?

There many reasons why listening is very difficult. Among are: different backgrounds (gender, race, religion, language, status, origin, culture, position etc), knowledge, experiences and histories. These different factors, lead the way how I view and interpret subjects and objects that may cause totally different from other people.

Many times in my life, when I misunderstood certain issues, it leads to clashes. There are times, out of these clashes; I say what I choose instead of choosing what I say. Clashes happened throughout all stages of my life: during earlier childhood, kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, university, marriage, and working. It occurred between me and my parents, siblings, relatives, wife, kids, my kampong people, friends, superiors, colleagues, subordinates, clients, suppliers, the government officers, even strangers and even chatters and probably bloggers too (I started blogging since July this year).

Fortunately, 14 years ago, the company I used to work with sent me to a seminar for effective communicating. I came to learn that the first step toward eliminating misunderstanding is to realize that the other party and I are all both different and the same. Because of the different backgrounds, there are different points of view. Yet, we are the same in that we have a need to be understood and appreciated. Knowledge of these simple facts is necessary to end misunderstanding.

I was taught that the next time I feel myself disagreeing with someone; I must stop and ask myself how their world view differs from mine. I must try to put myself in their place. I must try to understand their background. This is how I can learn not to rush to judgment and not to jump to conclusions.I also learned that should opinions still differ, both parties should be respected for the differences.

Unfortunately, though I have learned the ‘effective communication’ skills, still I keep doing this kind of mistakes. Perhaps I fail to empty my mind of biases, preconceptions, arrogance, narrow-mindedness, and stereotyping. Perhaps I fail to dispense some kindness. Perhaps the other parties are too sensitive. Because of these continuous mistakes, I name this blog as Subjected to Subjectivity for I am a 42-year old guy who are lacking knowledge and skills.

Until my next kind of mistake …