DL Fowler's Blog

SYWS – Different is not Deficient

Posted in Inside a Writer's Head, Psychology, SYWS by DLFowler on October 9, 2011

Someone says to you, “They’re not listening to me.” What do you say back?

Well just in case you’ve lost your tongue, I’ve got an idea for you. If you want to use it, just print it out and slip it on ‘Someone’s’ desk. 

A few years ago I heard a clergyman say “Different is not deficient.” Pretty good insight if you ask me.  Now if I told you who it was, you’d tune me out. As in, “You aren’t listening to me.”

Any way he made a couple of interesting points. Like, people of European ancestry clap to music on the one and three beats. They also nod up and down in rhythm with the music. People of African and Latin ancestry tend to clap on the two and four beats and sway side to side.  Hmmm … who’s right?  Why don’t they listen to me when I correct them?

Another example from that same clergyman – children from some cultures tend to learn better when they are looking at an object … a book for instance. Children from other cultures need physical contact with the teacher in order to connect with the subject they are learning about.  Which one’s better?

I hear people complain a lot that ‘they’ – usually the government or their bosses – aren’t listening to me.   Hmmm … is it that they aren’t listening or is it that they disagree?  The answer to that one is easy – since I’m right,  ‘they’ must be deficient.  So if I’m ‘not listening’ to you, get a clue! You’re deficient.  Oops – it must be that we see the problem differently.

Now let’s take a little exercise. The next time you come across someone who ‘seems’ deficient thinks differently than you do, both of you should try completing this numerical sequence: 0, 1, 1 …

Answer: Neither one of you will be ‘right’ unless you start by agreeing on three things: 1) the number set you’re allowed to use, 2) the rules that dictate the pattern, and 3) how far to extend the progression.

Unless you do those three things, different and deficient are two different things.

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2 Responses

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  1. Scott Bury said, on October 10, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Great analogies, DW. I have always felt so frustrated by others who want me or other people just to do things a certain way, because it’s the “right” way. Yet, often the “different” way accomplishes the same goals or causes fewer problems — or just works for that person!

    So many problems in today’s world are caused by that intolerance of the “way” someone else is doing something. And yet, people get so tense, so invested in the way or the manner in which something is done — swaying side to side versus back and forth, as you mentioned — but concern about the result is just lost.

    Like

    • DLFowler said, on October 10, 2011 at 7:35 AM

      Scott, thanks for your comments. I think we find a certain level of validation when we see ourselves in others. When we don’t see ourselves, many become so self absorbed the drive to force others to reflect ourselves takes over. We lose sight of each other’s uniqueness and worth.

      Like


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