Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Four Things I Learned Today

I had three and a half hours of mandatory diversity training today, which turned out to not be diversity training at all, but rather a course in body language, with fancy names for positive body language ("MicroAdvantages") and negative body language ("MicroInequities"). Lucky for me, the presenter was somewhat entertaining, and in the middle of the presentation I had one of those AHA! moments, in which things I've learned in different arenas of my life meld into one coherent thought. (I LOVE those!)

So please, in reading this, feel free to experience your own AHA! moments. (I would, however, recommend avoiding all EWWW, ACK! and MRRR moments. They are MicroNotThePoint.)

1. Life As Impulse Control
We humans have a wide range of emotions, thoughts and behaviors that make up who we are. And to get what we want out of life (be it a fulfilling romantic relationship, a positive work environment, or even just the last donut hole) we have to intentionally balance the expression of ourselves.

For example, if I am unhappy with the way someone is treating me, and I want to have a discussion about his/her behavior, I could go ahead and express my hurt feelings immediately and feel, as such, that I'm having my say, and being true to myself. Or, I could focus on what I want out of the situation (i.e., to be heard, to generate a change in behavior, etc.), and temper my response according to what I want.

To put it as clearly as I can, someone named kate periodically has to choose between "having my say" (me focused and immediate) and "actually being heard." (also me focused, but more long term and productive)

Now, in writing this, I might as well be writing an acting text, as going after what you want is one of the key principles in good acting. But this isn't acting, and more than anything, I want to emphasize that it's not lying or being phony. It's just knowing what you really want (both in the long and short term), and behaving in a way that will get you closest to what you want.

This is particularly challenging for someone named kate who often wants an immediate soothing AND the accomplishment of her long term goals.

This balance-the-expression-of-yourself lesson was reinforced for me today by a lawyer who, in the middle of training, said that not using negative body language with someone you don't like is lying -- it's not honoring your feelings. The presenter deftly responded that he didn't care about any of our feelings. All he cared about was whether or not he was fostering a positive workspace, one in which his team members could thrive and make more money for the partnership. Because in business, arguably, that's the objective. (If this were the SATs, business : money as kate : long term goals)

2. An Odd Remedy for Dry Skin

Best applied while doing dishes.

3. Giving Advice to Friends Sometimes Makes You Hear It Yourself
I have a friend who is getting married and she called me in a tizzy the other night, convinced that her fiancee didn't want to marry her anymore. She listed a number of reasons, all of which had to do with her, and not with him at all, and at one point she said, "I'm making all these sacrifices in my lifestyle to be with him, and I just don't think he appreciates it."

I stopped her right there and said, "Wait a second, you're missing the point. He may NEVER appreciate the sacrifices you're making. And that's fine. It's really not his job to validate you or your sacrifices. You can only sacrifice when it is ok with you, and never expect anyone to praise you for it. Otherwise all you're doing is storing that sacrifice in your arsenal, ready to whip it out whenever you're in a fight that's not going your way."

(Not bad for someone who hasn't been in a relationship for let's-not-even-do-the-math-on-this-one long, eh?)

4. Spaghetti Squash is a Lot Like Spaghetti
It's true. It is. You cut it in half, nook it for 9 minutes in the microwave, dump some spaghetti sauce into it, stir, add cheese, stir some more and then chow down. Totally awesome meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment