An Argumentation About Miscommunication
Sharing what’s on your mind isn’t always as easy as we believe it is. There’s a difference between the easiness of expressing ourselves and the translation of what’s actually on our minds.
The thoughts we have can’t easily be captured into spoken words, because a single thought is never simply just that. It’s derived from other thoughts, convictions and concepts floating around in our heads and are even linked to our overall state of mind.
And to put all of that in a few words, isn’t an easy task. Mostly we just think to have shared what we want to share, when in fact we haven’t. That whole world of thought behind our words seldom truly comes out. It’s like trying to relay the tones of music by simply drumming the beats.
It also applies to the written word. I experienced this myself with writing my poetry (back in the early days). I could write a verse based on an insightful thought I had and, with that though still fresh on my mind, read into my creation exactly what I meant to say.
But as the months passed by and the freshness of the thought dissipated, I was often left puzzled with what I had written. They were merely just empty words, lacking the volume that what only in my head.
Of course this helped me become more and more specific while putting my pen to the paper, but that’s not the point. The point is that there is a lot of miscommunication in the world, because we are inadequately aware of this mechanism.
Ever had those moment that people tell you they told you something, but you forgot? Or, even during a conversation, that you gave someone’s words back to them and get to hear that’s not what they meant? I think these little miscommunications happen a lot more than there are likes on Facebook each day.
And it doesn’t help that there are actually at least two people having a dialogue. Because the same thing happens when we translate what’s being said. The empty words that make it across the void in between, are filled with the conceptual reality in the other person’s head, and change shape accordingly.
A friend of mine and I were driving in his car the other day, when all of a sudden he said: “wow, that’s beautiful”. “Yes, very”, I replied, and we both agreed. Later it turned out that I was at that moment looking to the right at a forest-clad hilltop and he was looking to the left at orange-filled skies.
The moral of that little story to me is, that we need to be more specific in what we say to one another. If he would have said something like “look at that beautiful sky”, I would have at least had the right subject … bringing us closer together on the matter. Now we were off by a long shot.
So, whenever you speak your mind, don’t just talk. Also think about the specifics you need to include for the other to better understand you. Real communication is not something that happens automatically. It requires us to put in a little bit of effort.
A philosophical dreamer with a passion for self-reflection and contemplating life. He’s serious about helping people with the insights he gathered, but playful in the way he communicates his wisdom. He left a career as environmental engineer behind, in favor of becoming a personal development coach and thought-provoking writer.