My mom, one of the wisest people I know (the other two being her brother and sister), and not that like mom/grandma kind of common sense wise, in talking like sage or oracle kind of wise, has this very interesting, unique trick of resolving disagreements.
But first, you have to realize that she is never wrong. Like ever. Oh, it’s not like she knows everything in the world, but she never offers her advice unless she is 100% sure she knows what she is talking about. If she doesn’t know, she doesn’t make stupid uneducated comments, just to be participating. If she doesn’t know for sure, she just keeps her mouth shut.
But that’s not the trick. Second, the thing you need to remember is that people do not listen to people who are right. Almost never. They are much more likely to listen to the person who confirms what they are thinking. Or the person who says something that sounds reasonable to their addle-pated brains (though it is not, in fact, reasonable, nor correct).
So, here’s the trick. When a disagreement arises, she states her case, once, twice, and thrice, emphatically, but not loudly. She only states it 3 times if people keep disagreeing with her. If, after the 3rd time, the other party disagrees, she throws up her arms and says, “Okay, we’ll do it your way.” Then, when we do it your way and it is invariably wrong, she gives you this sidelong look that totally says, “Well…”
I’ll give you a good example of this. A while back, we were over visiting my folks where they live. Now, they have lived there many years. So, we decide to go to the beach, of course, my mom, my partner, another friend, and me. We were going to the “Pier”, actually. So, we got there and parked. We were walking along and my mom says, “It’s this way.” I’m sure you can see where this is going. Yes, the three tourists disagreed with the native. Three times she said itt was this way, four time we disagreed. So, she threw up her arms and said, “Okay we’ll go that way,” knowing 100% full well that it was the wrong way.
Now, I may be slow, but I eventually catch on. So, after about 50 years of this, I stood there for a minute, the poor hamster in my brain grinding that wheel as hard as he could, and suddenly I blurted, “Um… mom lives here, she probably knows the way.” You could see the light don on the others’ faces like duuuuuuuh, of course she does!
That was the first time in, yes, 50 years that I ever really noticed her three times rule, but as I thought back over my life, I realized that was her habit. A habit that I am trying to learn, as well. It’s a habit I already have to some extent, and it has gotten me in trouble. I do thinks their way because they won’t listen to someone who knows (me). I do get to say, “I told you so,” but it can still be a time/energy waster. Anyway.
I am telling you that story because something happened today that reminded me of it. I have a friend who is VERY good at what he does, and hews to the same policy as my mother, he only opens his mouth when he 100% knows what he is talking about. We were meeting and I was going over a project we were working on. He suggested some improvement to the build process. Well, I may be slow, but I ain’t THAT slow. I’ve seen his work, I’ve seen people NOT follow his advice and regret it, and I remember the lesson of my mother. So, I’m like, yes, we will definitely do it that way.
Of course, we are not doing this alone, we are collaborating, as we always do. I sent over the suggestions to my partners/bosses and guess what. You guessed it, they questioned it. They have never done anything like this, I have, many times, and my friend has probably done something similar a zillion times, he KNOWS what he is talking about. Period. So, I wrote back with statement #2, gently reiterating the points. Then they wrote back with disagreement #2. That was right at the end of the work day, so that is where it sits now. I know what I’m doing next, but it’s not what you think.
So, anyway, I guess the #ProTip of this story is, 1) Know what you don’t know. 2) Know who does know what you don’t know. 3) Listen to them. via Facebook