We cannot guess the tune by only hearing the drums
Have you ever tried? You know - that game where you here happily tap along to a tune that plays in your head. And a friend gets the miserable task of trying to guess the song.
Oh, ye poor friend!
I’m guessing you outgrew the game, because you learned, that while you hear a whole symphony in your head, your friend only hears the odd tapping. And thereby she lacks way too much information to come up with the brilliant tune playing in your head (a measured success rate of that game is 2,5% ... ).
The thing is that although we may get it in the context of the game, we tend to forget this lesson of ‘tappers and listeners’ when going about life in both business and the private sphere.
Before getting to the Jigidi point, let’s first take a sneak peek into a meeting you’ve probably attended more than once:
Your boss lays out a new vision for the company in super abstract terms. You and your colleagues feel an instant thrill and enthusiasm. But upon returning to your desks, you go about business as always - while instinctively shaking your head at ‘management.’
Your boss was tapping a melody while only giving you drums. She failed to make sense of the goals and aims and put them into actionable terms regarding your jobs.
Let’s follow that up with a conversation between Magnus and I the other day:
“It must be a salary. Don’t you think?”
Magnus answered a question I had not actually asked, but it was playing in my head as well as in his. We had just passed a young man and woman sitting in a café and overheard her saying:
“45,000 Danish kroner – I’ll accept no less”.
While continuing our walk, her remark had us guessing to ourselves – for WHAT would she not accept anything less than 45,000 Danish kroner?
To me, she looked around 20 years of age, so I placed her outside of a professional context and went straight for a private sale scenario.
Furthermore, I had her pegged as a rich kid (merely by her appearance and the rather posh neighborhood we were in), as I was trying to figure out for what item she would expect that considerable amount of money. And I resolved on an expensive couch (because we’re in the process of remodeling our daughter’s room).
I know, my deductions were a tad (!) catty. I let myself because I was hungry and had my frontal lopes preoccupied with a whole other issue that was mine to solve - but I couldn’t seem to crack it.
Magnus had spent the afternoon joggling numbers and went straight for the employer scenario. But like me, he also questioned how reasonable that amount was. Trying to make sense from his perspective, he was taking her age into account and in that the experience she could have gathered in her field.
When we vented our thoughts to each other, we were a little embarrassed about how judgmental we’d gotten in our initial deductions but congratulated each other on being smart enough to know it (🙄).
Here comes the Jigidi point (besides Magnus and I being judgmental when we think no one is listening in):
Our brains fill in gaps when they are left open to us. And we fill them with deductions based on our knowledge, mood, experience, and imagination.
As is so often the case with our beautiful brains, it is a matter of efficiency and safety:
"Your brain is continuously making guesses as to what might be coming next, building templates or ‘guide images’ to help us take shortcuts to get on with navigating our lives. We could think of the brain as some kind of predictive texter’ or highend satnav, helpfully completing our words or sentences, or finishing off a visual pattern to let us get on with life quickly, or guiding us down the safest paths for ‘people like us’." (Gina Rippon, "The Gendered Brain", 2019)
Being equipped with a brain that continually looks to project behavior means that we’re always trying to get ‘a full picture’ of each other’s puzzles and comments. It so follows that we construct context and intent with each other’s postings.
What this means for you is that when you have a particular intent with your posting, you can help our interpretation much along by using the title of the puzzle and the description field for that specific framing.
Making good of these two elements, you can present your perspective on the image and also the necessary knowledge for us to get a sense of it.
Show us your lens – what tune you’re playing for us -, and we’ll reflect ours to you. ♥
With lots of love, Jigidi
P.S. If you recognize yourself as the young woman from the café, please forgive us. (But also, please get back to us ASAP with the answer to the question of the 45,000 Danish kroner).