As I create this blog post, I am singing the Blue’s Clues song. Now you are singing it too. You are welcome, my friend! Ha! I don’t miss watching Blue’s Clues, but I do miss the consistent message my kids received that encouraged them to Be Curious! We move from curiosity to certainty pretty quickly because we are expected to know everything even at a young age! I think about how our schools are asking 8th graders to choose their career path and crafting their high school experience based on that choice. I think about how we feel pressure to choose our kids sports early so that they will have the skills needed and not be behind the others whose parents start soccer at 3 years old.
Blue’s Clues reminded me that every activity is an opportunity to explore how we feel, to grow by pushing past our comfort zones, to build perseverance when the activity gets too tough and to become curious about how to express our own unique gifts and talents.
I think our daily conversations are an opportunity to becoming curious about ourselves and each other. In the book, Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone et.al., we read that when we have a conversation with another person about a shared experience, we each offer a conclusion of our data collection, observations and interpretations. You might respond by asking, “How on earth do we tend to have different conclusions when we share an experience?”
1-We are wired to focus on certain data and not other data. Yes, there is a lot of information coming at us and we have a filter system in place to prioritize the information and disregard information all together. Let me say that again. We each have a unique way of prioritizing the information!
2-We accept the information according to who we are and what we value and then we interpret that information. We learn our interpretation skills through past experiences and rules we have established about how things should be done.
Even in rereading this information, I find myself thinking, “How do we ever understand each other AND I am already exhausted by this lesson in communication!”
We can’t change everything all at once so take a deep breath, shake out your shoulders, and consider making a few easy adjustments.
1-Become Curious about yourself
We know ourselves better than we know anyone else, so take a moment to think about how you arrived at your conclusion. What information did you gather? What observations did you make? How did you interpret that data? What past experience shapes how you see this new experience? This will help you offer a fuller picture to your conversation partner.
2-Become Curious about the other person
Now that we know that we select the data according to who we are and what we find important, could we shift our position of certainty to one of curiosity about what information the other person collected? Most likely they did not use the same system you did, so you might have missed some valuable information.
I love this quote,
“Certainty locks us out of their story; curiosity lets us in.” Difficult Conversations, 37.