When 2 + 2 Doesn’t Equal 4

Hola from Reno,

The chaos known as grad school only earns me a break after ever Tuesday evening.

The chance to regrow my strained brain cells, theoretically catch up on sleep, and take a day off from the grind and rigor of six hours of class after nine hours at work and a substantial amount of exercise is always looked forward to and yet severely underutilized. I have yet to use my day after class for true recovery…

My fascination with time management continues to grow, especially as we were talking about opportunity cost in my economics class last night. In order to do anything, you have to give up something. That is the undeniable principle that governs the things in life, and how we spend each and every of our 168 hours in a week, or the 8760 hours in a year. If you compare the value of diamonds to that of water, the answer seems obvious. However, it’s not so obvious if you’re dying from dehydration, is it?

Triathlon and schooling requires me to pay a very high opportunity cost, but the added value that I get from both of these things is rapidly growing at an exponential rate. The ability to connect things I’ve learned in grad school to my job, and applying the lessons learned in my job to my triathlon obsession all pay off very quickly. I excel at analysis, and detail-oriented analysis at that, and love working through the details and connecting data across multiple events, occurrences, and just running it all through my synapses.

In an interesting discussion with someone recently, the idea that communication and understanding each other also has an opportunity cost popped into my mind. If in your world, 2 +2 = 4 but in their world 2 + 2 = 22, how do you even begin to try to see eye to eye?

They’re convinced they’re correct and you’re convinced you’re correct. They want you to see their point of view but you are outraged that they don’t see yours.

It seems to be a descending circle of chaos, miscommunication, and frustration. So what can get you out of that mess? The ability to step back, outside of our paradigms and established boxes, and reevaluate the situation will prove invaluable. You were referring to adding numbers together and they were referring to simply painting the numbers next to each other on a wall. Neither of you were necessarily wrong, but you also did a poor job of communicating why you were right and felt the other person was off base.They sure as hell won’t understand you if you can’t understand them!

Too often we deal with our thoughts and feelings, and assume that they’re grounded, and perhaps they are, but it’s getting other to understand where we’re coming from that will bring the most benefit when confusion begins to arise. You can still stick to your guns, just be prepared to lower them a little when the other party raises a white flag and wants to try to find the middle ground again. It’s always easier to blast someone with your defenses, but to what end and greater purpose will that get you?

Do you find yourself constantly hiding behind your defenses during misunderstandings?

Photo credit 1. Picture credit 2.

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