In My Head (Part 3): The Process And Complication Of Explaining Things
The last two entries of the “In My Head” (found here and here) section have given you more insight into my mind (per say) than into my life. This post will also follow suit, and will hopefully be a better view into the way things get processed in my mind and then released into conversation. I will likely have to put several analogies into this mix to help facilitate the concepts of what it looks like inside my head, but I’m sure most of this is actually pretty relatable on many levels.
First, let me describe the general process of thought, and then I’ll give the overview of what happens when I try to explain things in the order that it happens. If I’m having a conversation with someone, I tend to calculate a bunch of things all at once (I do these efficiently, but it’s still a lot that happens at once (I’ll describe those in a moment)). After these calculations are made, I then take ALL the knowledge I have on the issue in discussion, and squelch it down to the bare essentials in the most time-efficient manner. Lastly, I measure and read expressions and nuances of things as I discern moment by moment what things need to be included, excluded, or elaborated upon (all while measuring the format of time presented to me). Let’s break this down a bit further into their processes:
1) Pre-Calculations For Discussion
- What does this person already know about the issue?
- How much are they wanting to know?
- What is the primary purpose of the discussion in their opinion?
- Which is the most effective method for delivery of information?
- Roughly how much time do I have to present information to this person?
- On what emotional ground are they standing currently?
- Where do they hope to take the conversation if left to them?
- What is the ratio for both me and them (singularly or plural) for talking to listening?
- What is the best case-scenario for the outcome of this conversation?
Of note, these above questions are immediately thought up and then plugged into another (quick) matrix of probability where the outcome is calculated into a single percentage of what you might classify as “win:loss”. These pre-calculations are not all equivocal, as some have much more weight and relevance than others, but all are filtered through the final question before a conversation EVER takes place. That question is: “Is it worth it?”. The percentage number calculated on the likelihood of success variable very heavily upon that answer, although there are now new factors which must be factored in:
- Am I emotionally healthy enough to have this conversation?
- How does my own time value factor into the need for this conversation (am I busy)?
- Do I know the material well enough to sway the Win:Loss ratio of this discussion any?
- What is the person’s perspective of me as a character, and how will that affect our conversation?
- Do I want to have this conversation?
If all these things lend to an appropriate percentage, then I entertain the conversation. If you see me just listening to someone (or you) without really engaging in dialogue back, then it’s likely I’ve decided that a conversation simply isn’t worth it. It doesn’t excuse being rude, however, so usually I just listen and show them that I’m an ear to talk to, irrelevant to whether they want my opinion or not. The first set of factors has to do with them, the second has to do with me, and the third has to do with the relationship betwixt us. So even if the Win:Loss ratio for the rest of the questions is low, the value of them to me as a person might increase that probability of conversation in the first place. But again, all this is factored into the FINAL number which is presented similar to an expression like a percentage. All of this happens within a microsecond, and would seem instantaneous to most. This would be similar to the concept of the teeter totter tipping past the point of “yes” or “no” if you were to see it.
2) The Process Of Information
- What do I know in total about the subject?
- Which parts are most relevant?
- Which parts are subsequently relevant?
- What information do they already possess?
- Of what they know which I know, which needs or doesn’t need repeating?
- How do my experiences weigh in on the matter?
- Which prejudices do I hold on the issue that needs to be set aside?
- What format would best serve the conversation?
- How do I reach this person on their level?
At this point, I am taking ALL the information I know and funneling it down into simplified measures. A simple way to think about this would be like watching an hour long documentary on President Abraham Lincoln and then giving a 5 minute presentation in front of the class about his life. Or attending a seminar on a revolutionary new product, and trying to sell your spouse on why you need it. But for me, this process is almost always far more complex and intricate than just one source of information. It’s 3 documentaries, 18 YouTube videos, discussions with experts, 100’s of online journals and papers read, years and years of experience on dealing with the topic (not in the case of Lincoln though), contemplation on the matter for hours upon hours, and the list goes on and on. It’s a surmountable amount of exhaustive information, and I usually have about 8 seconds to get someone interested enough to want to know more. It’s equivocally a thousand hours of information and research in which I am given a sentence or two to try and persuade someone to see things from a new perspective. It’s honestly as difficult as it sounds, and many times unsuccessful … regardless of how well the information is presented. That’s why that important “percentage” number is so vital. Jesus mentioned this concept in the parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13. One must find the right kinds of soil, avoid thorns, and have an area free from scavenging birds in order to grow successfully. The seed is still the same seed no matter which ground it’s placed on.
3) Developing The Conversation
- What expressions are they giving which would indicate how to take this conversation?
- How is their body language suggesting their thoughts?
- Was the first part of this conversation successful, and what is the new percentage?
- What subsequent parts of information do I need to present next? Next? Next?
- Is the method of communication still successful?
- What needs repeating or rewording to be effective?
- How has their view of me shifted through this conversation?
- Is it worth continuing the conversation?
In all, there are dozens more questions that are asked which I haven’t even mentioned above, because they’re almost smaller nuances of the aforementioned questions. That, and some have feelings which are hard to formulate into words. And although I presented these in questions, in my head they are simply thoughts that have an associative value to them which have no answers as much as they have numbers on a scale associated with them. It’s always in numbers in my head (much like the Matrix, but with code that I understand). I’m sure this sounds like a seriously complex way to have a conversation, even sporadically, but this happens almost instantaneously in my head, and it’s how I naturally process conversation. This post doesn’t include what I’ve already discussed in the previous Spiritual Discernment post, but if you haven’t read it, add that thought on top of this one. They are in harmony and happening simultaneously in my head. This is how I have EVERY conversation with EVERYONE!
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