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Thursday, May 12, 2016
Let’s beat this drum again.
As a matter of fact I might need to beat it everyday until I remember to practice it.
It’s the judgment diffuser.
It’s the beautiful entry point into truth vs. story.
It’s the portal into fact vs fiction .
Someone bugging you? Be curious.
Feel frustrated by something? Ask “What’s this about?”
Wishing something or someone would change? Boot up your curiosity gene.
I’m in a session, a participant talks incessantly to his neighbour at the back of the room. He covers his hand, whispers something, then laughs uproariously. It’s. Very. Distracting.
Politely, I ask him to be quiet. As if I am a fly, he swats at the air and then persists. I try an old school technique of separating the two of them. He refuses to move. His neighbour refuses. Next I embarrass him. Fail. Then the ultimate intervention. Shame. Yes, I did. I stooped that low. UGH.
Driving to the airport, I debrief myself and something hits me: CURIOSITY. That’s what was missing; simple, judgment-free curiosity. Real curiosity. Why was he talking? What did he need? What was he getting out of that moment with his friend? OK too late to ask him, so I turned to myself. Why wasn’t I curious in that moment in the room?
Was I worried about distracting the other participants? Yes, but…
That wasn’t the real thing. The truth wasI was taking it all personally.
I made up a whole story about why he had to talk and it went something like this: He didn't like me.
Once that story was set, my brain got out an old vinyl and dropped the arm down on “Not good enough.”
Unfortunately the end to a fictional story that judges someone else’s behaviour inevitably ends with you.
This week get curious about everything. Start asking questions when you aren’t bugged so when you ARE bugged you’ll have programmed yourself to be curious by default.
Walk into almost any office and you’ll see people furiously writing away on whiteboards, frosted glass walls, and erasable table tops. According to The Wall Street Journal, the late Steve Jobs and Seattle’s own Jeff Bezos have both been hailed as whiteboard virtuosi. So, the idea of working through problems and storytelling using a whiteboard is definitely not new. What is new, is making the art and science of visual storytelling teachable. And teach it we shall.