Giving Unhurtful Feedback

I am notorious for giving cruel, uncaring, cutting feedback.  I thought that if I was clear, firm, and to the point, I would achieve perfect communication.  This is true only for robots, but not for humans with emotions.

Here’s what I thought happens when two people talk:

(idea in head) -> words spoken -> sound in air -> words heard by other person -> (idea in head)

Here’s what actually happens

(idea in head) -> words spoken with tone and expressed with body language -> sound in air and visual imagery -> other person’s emotions at the time + other person’s unconscious biases and habits + other person’s beliefs and world view + other person’s view on the relationship between you and them + other person’s feelings of their relationships with themselves and the rest of the world at that moment + what you said + what they interpret what you said meant + what they see + what they interpret what they see meant -> (idea in head)

As a result, when I say something like “Don’t do that. Do this instead.”  What I think is happening is I’m clearly communicating what needs to be addressed, and how it needs to be addressed.  What is happening is I’m 1. taking authority and command and superiority to tell the other person what to do 2. making them feel small 3. making them feel threatened 4. making them feel confused and afraid from the threat 5. making them question why 6. making them insecure about whether to trust the information or not 7. wonder about my intentions 8. wonder about the impact on the relationship and on them self if they obey and if they don’t obey 9. creating a hostile environment into which it is difficult to give feedback, ask for clarification, be equal 10. etc.

Instead, lead with intent that is selflessly benevolent to the other person: I want you to do well, so I care if something bad happens to you. I an concerned that if you do that, a unfortunate etc. thing will happen to you, which I don’t want.  So my solution to the situation is to do this because given my experience etc. will happen. What do you think?

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Spend Time with Your Sick Friends

Feb 2017 I was sick and stuck in bed for 4 weeks due to the Flu, and I have to say being sick is a very lonely activity.  Being stick in bed means you don’t see anyone at work, because you don’t go to work, and you don’t see anyone on your commute, because you aren’t commuting, and you don’t see any human beings in person at all, except the ones who live with you, but they have lives and are rarely home, so you’re basically alone all day and night and it’s very lonely.

All the things you’d normally do to pass time are no longer an option.  You suddenly find yourself with so many hours of free time, but no energy or ability to take advantage of said free time.  So you aren’t gaining happiness from doing fun things. Instead, you’re just decaying slowly as the illness saps your energy.

It’s depressing to say the least. And the longer it goes on, the more lonely you feel because your Loneliness Battery isn’t being recharged.

I know the typical response is to say: oh that person is sick, I don’t want to get sick too so let’s avoid that person.  But that is the wrong thing to do because you aren’t helping them get well by leaving them alone.  Go to them, spend some time with them. Practice safe and intelligent hygiene to avoid contracting illnesses, and continue proper self care to stay healthy yourself.  Don’t underestimate the power of being present for someone in helping them continue to fight the illness, in helping them recover from illness, in helping them be healthy.

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Life Lessons Jan 10 2018

Opportunities expire really quickly so take them when you can

A few months ago I went to a bitcoin talk and was recommended Monero.  I was convinced and would buy Monero, but was too lazy to do anything with the information.  As a result, Monero quadrupled in value while bitcoin only doubled in value. I had the opportunity, but I was slow to act, and so I missed it.

 

If you are unhappy today, act in such a way that you will be happy tomorrow.

Often times when I’m unhappy, I don’t feel like doing anything and so I don’t.  This is a problem because you likely don’t feel good today because of what you did yesterday.  If you don’t take care of yourself today, then you are setting yourself up to feel bad tomorrow.  And if you always respond to sadness in such a way that the next day will be sad, then you are trapping yourself in an infinite loop of sad days.

Even if you don’t feel like doing anything and you aren’t happy, you should still move and do work.  When you feel bad because of what happened in the past, realize that you can’t change the past, but you can change the future, so act in such a way that you will be happy tomorrow.

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