There’s this podcast, Tim Ferriss. I really know nothing about him or it or anything. I listened to one episode. It featured Krista Tippett. I really don’t know much about her, either. She’s an author, radio host, and all-around smart person. I’d recommend listening to the whole episode, and I won’t even try to tell you what it’s all about other than to say the title of the episode is “Calming Philosophies for Chaotic Times.” Give it a listen, really.
But there was one image that sprang to my mind from listening to it. The idea was that when we get upset, we tend to lose our capacity to listen and think and perform like rational human beings. It happens in standard conversations, on social media, when watching the wrong newscast, anything. We get mad, indignant, whatever, and we shut. down.
It’s like we’re phones. Smart phones. We can do a lot. We’re talented, resourceful, fun, entertaining, delightful people. Most of the time, we work just fine. Stellar, even. Then all of a sudden, we come across a bug, a little gap in our software, and we find ourselves in a situation we just don’t seemed to be programmed to handle right. Typically our speakers still work fine, but we’re stuck playing Megadeth, and our microphones freeze up altogether.
I’m going to stop the metaphor here rather than talking about needing to reset or regularly updating our software or buying an emotional otter box. I’m sure there’s something to be said for all that, being able to reset ourselves mentally. But I think there’s also just something to be said for realizing when someone else might be bugging out, so to speak, and rather than just dismissing the other person as a stupid piece of crap, well . . . maybe just realize they’ve shut down and it might be best to just give them a minute.
I know, we’re people, not phones. But I think it helps to accept other people’s limitations. Recognize when somebody just isn’t in a place where they’re handling the situation all that well. They, shockingly, aren’t perfect. Give them a second. They’ll do better. Or they won’t. But we can do better. We.
It ain’t trivia, but it’s a question: who the hell is Tim Ferriss?