A fruitful idea for digesting communication

I kept quiet because my words make volcanoes erupt! My wife was boiling with rage. She had been put on a fruits only diet by her doctor. It was tough going. And now she had been given a raw guava by our domestic aide. She demanded an explanation. “Have I ever said I like them raw?” she fumed. Of course, she had never said that. Why did he then do such a thing?

You see, it was me. I love ripe guavas. I had specifically told the aide to give me only ripe guavas. Our domestic aide was clear on what I want. If you have a few guavas, and you are told what one customer likes, what do you do about the other customer? Ask the other, right? Yet, he did not do that. I believe even I would not have asked. Here’s why.

What would one prefer the situation to be? It is perfect if one customer likes ripe & other likes raw because it is easier to buy & stock guavas when they are at different stages from raw to ripe. This ease makes me subtly delude myself. I presume this in dim awareness of my line of reasoning, “Well, one customer likes them ripe. If the other likes them ripe too, she would have told me. Just like he did. The fact that he did & she didn’t means she is fine with raw guavas” 

The domestic aide cannot tolerate ambiguity caused by an incomplete loop in a duality. He knows my position. He doesn’t know my wife’s position. He prefers the reality to be of one specific kind (I like ripe, she likes raw). He has closed the loop by conveniently deciding that she likes raw guavas.

You see this incomplete loop in a duality all around. There is always a subtle almost subconscious preference in the reality we want to see shaping into the future. We close the loop in the duality as per our preference without being explicitly aware of it.

Consider this situation. You are presenting in front of two seniors, say Ravi and Ashok. Next fiscal, you ‘have’ to join one of them as a job rotation move. You have heard of Ravi being a good mentor. Not much about Ashok is known to you. Ravi effusively praises you after you are done. At some level, that very instant, you have ticked the check-box for where you want to be next fiscal. So much so, you evade making eye contact with Ashok as it is his turn to comment. Ashok, no doubt affected by your vibrational distance, says well-done & goes quiet. You close the duality loop as to what the communication means. It goes like this:“Ashok is not keen to have me on his team. See, he had almost nothing to say. He is not as good a boss as Ravi “You were keen to have that impression of Ashok & you helped create it.

Another example. You have two subordinates & one has the habit of giving an end-of-the day update while the other doesn’t. It might be the case that the one who does not update is factually more efficient & performing. What is your specific preference of reality? It is that you prefer being updated even if the update says work incomplete. You value status-reports more than job completion. How do you close the duality loop? By judging her to be behind the curve & subtly making life more challenging for her so that she is compelled to file a status-report to you. 

The way forward on this duality loop.

In a situation where you have two sides/people that you are dealing with, ask yourself; “What is the reality I ‘truly’ prefer as regards the significant other with whom the loop is incomplete? And how is that making me judge and behave in the situation?” 

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