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Thursday, January 22, 2009


By nature, I'm a very discerning person. Meaning, I perceive subtle factors by nature, as a talent/obsession. Without even using much effort, I am talented at catching the subtle differences that may be making a difference. I zero in on them.

When I was younger, these were usually things I would spot that "stuck out". They seemed to need attention or fixing or were "wrong" in some way. I realized that I was attracted to things that I could influence, and that I gained a nice feeling from fixing stuff that could go wrong, or preventing calamity, as well as mitigating and sweeping up after others who were so directed at doing something important that they didn't have the concentration to deal with details...and the devil was in the details. I so enjoyed being there to put out fires when chaos hit the fan.

But as I learned some wisdom, I began to seek the things that could make a big difference that were not present anywhere or were not obvious at all. I suspected my means, which was to zero in on something, was not the means that would really bring me the benefits I wanted. So I decided to change my actions that I was using to bring about my desires. I decided to change my focus. Instead of "zeroing in" I decided to expand the focal length and regard the bigger picture.

I realized that it was a much more challenging possibility (and a much better use of my observational abilities and intelligence) to imagine what could be done to improve a situation by considering the whole situation. It took relationship skills to reassure and question people who were involved to craft solutions acceptable to everyone involved.

Pretty much anyone could just point out what was wrong with something or someone. It seemed that such judgments about supposed evil motives were so very often wrong. Think about it. People naturally gravitate toward the worst possible motive if they are confronting some event or some person they do not understand. Why is that so common? Because of the commonness of self-preservation.

It's a very interesting discipline, when you find yourself passing a judgment, to realize it is coming from a sense of fear or self-preservation in yourself - or others. It gets to be a very interesting challenge to imagine a reasonable explanation for the motives of the person you have judged to be suspicious. Or to find ways to reassure others that there is no need for their suspicions or fearful concerns.

Turns out it's a very handy and valuable skill too. Fascinating to come up with a reasonable and compassionate explanation when someone does do something in a mean-spirited way to their face. It makes mean people behave, even while they're thinking you're the most inane Pollyanna they've ever met.

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