No less than 50% of all debates would disappear overnight if more people adopted some variation of the following:
“Before I give my opinion, let me repeat back to you what I think you’re saying just to make sure I’m understanding you correctly.”
Unfortunately, we tend to take a more direct path to conflict:
“You just contradicted yourself” or “You’re talking in circles!”
It’s even more amazing that we, as a species, are capable of uttering such pronouncements without asking any questions and without making any efforts to cross-check our interpretation with other people’s intended meaning.
When we say “you’re not making any sense”, we often assume that we’re pointing out a clear-cut case of inconsistency, but contradictions are not as black and white as we often suppose.
Although it’s easy to react as if people are contradicting themselves or the facts whenever they fail to make sense, sometimes the “it” in “it doesn’t make any sense” is nothing more than our own limited comprehension.
Most apparent gaps in logic are actually just glitches in communication.
This is why effective communicators always double-check their interpretations and they never assume that an inconsistency has occurred until they’ve confirmed that they have an accurate understanding of whatever is being conveyed.
Here’s today’s two cents:
If you want to make more sense out of others, spend less time pointing out their inconsistencies and invest more energy in clearing up the contradictions in your understanding.
Jesus said it best: first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
That’s today’s two cents.