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A very famous tin.

WILTW is my new short feature, and stands for What I Learned This Week. It’s an opportunity for me to share a short sentence or two, on a valuable life lesson that I’ve learned in the past week.

Basically, it does what it says on the tin.

This week, I’ve learned that when someone puts forward a perspective or a point of view that I don’t agree with, the wrongest thing to say is “you’re wrong and let me now list all the reasons you’re wrong”.

The rightest answer I have is either “I understand and appreciate the point you make. It deals with [aspect most important to other person]I’m concerned that this or that this problem might occur.” or “I’m sorry I don’t understand why this is (done this way/said this way/required this way), could you give me an example or an alternative explanation?”

The core principle is that every person arrives at their perspectives and viewpoints  by a process that is internally coherent and rational for the choices they have made, the cards life has dealt them and their view of the circumstances. When you understand and appreciate that framework, those steps, you have the ability to understand and appreciate everyone’s views.

The evaluative phase should be postponed until then.

If you have your own way of approaching these moments, I would be delighted to have you leave a comment outlining it.



    • anon
    • Posted October 1, 2008 at 11:44 pm
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    you seem to have an equation for everything, a formula for everything… but life as you have realised is not like that….

    now you seem to have created a formula for abstractness too…

    its wierd

    stop defining, and dare to let things flow naturally, randomly and hang in the air for no purpose at all.

    • mtalib
    • Posted October 2, 2008 at 7:50 am
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    In light of your comment, on re-reading my post, I grasp that it can be read that way. That I’m generating more labels on the world to help me feel like I’m more in control.

    For me, the rightest answers aren’t set phrases, they’re not patterns I’m going to use to fake understanding or appreciation. They are manifestations of a new born attempt at understanding and appreciation.

    These are things that I’ve sucked at before due to the instinctive resort to the evaluative and judgemental part of me previously.

    Appreciation starts from the understanding that every person comes to life with a different perspective because we all start from different places. Inquiring into these foundations can show how they see different consequences that might not be apparent to me due to the limitations of my own perspectives and my own understanding.

    The lesson for me this week is the core principle.

    • anon
    • Posted October 2, 2008 at 10:05 pm
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    perhaps they do not want you to discriminate them or ‘understand’ them from which place they began.

    they just want to have some fun in your company.

    • mtalib
    • Posted October 4, 2008 at 7:56 pm
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    In that time and place, I won’t offer them understanding or appreciation. Banter, sarcasm, insults and general goofery are more my repertoire.

    Everything has its time and its place, and this is a post about when the time and place is one that calls for understanding and appreciation.

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