Friday, January 29, 2010

JMO - Thinking not permitted

Thinking out loud that is. It's been a problem with me all my life. I like to think out loud, from the obvious ideas to the most extreme in many different directions. I've always been good at brain storming and often found myself in those group "brain storming" meetings, the typical manager thought " to come up with new and fresh ideas", with a list on my tablet with 90% of the ideas people suggested during the meeting, and that's when the meeting started.

I do my homework and go through free thinking excercises before I get there so I'm ready. I'm almost always dumbfounded to hear most of the people, despites days of advance notice of the meeting and the work, don't have any ideas or suggestions. I'm also always dumbfounded when people begin to critique, and worse criticize or ridicule, suggestions before everyone's had a chance to talk.

They don't seem to want to recognize two things. First, the process of brain storming is being open and non-critical. Second, personal attacks on the suggestions and worse the people not only doesn't help, it's unprofessional. But there are those who start right away, "Wow, that's a dumb idea!", right after someone, and often timidly, suggested it.

And if there isn't a better way to kill a discussion and to muffle free thinkers, I can't think of one. No one wants to say something as an idea, asked to free think in an open discussion, to hear criticism or worse condescension about their idea or themselves. I've heard it all too often. Some people just want to be assholes.

Anyway, in many ways the same applies to forums and bulletin boards. Someone asks a question and the ideas and responses begin. Then someone will post an entry that slams some of the responses, or worse the people writing them. Sometimes people, like me, often post responses more as questions, simply wondering it something is a possibility.

Since many questions can't be fully researched to post a knowledgeable response, I'll often suggest something out of curiousity than accuracy. But then invariably someone will post a critical response how dumb or misinformed the post or I was. And while they may have the answer, is there any reason to say it in a degrading or condescending manner?

The problem I've also seen is that if you answer their response was overly critical or worse, they usually respond about being honest, and the old saying if you can't stand the criticism don't make the comment. Well, that's just more of the same degradation and condescension espoused as rhetoric and the typical asshole mentality.

I say that because it's not the view of the person making the comment that matters, but those hearing or reading it that matters. It's how it's received that is the critieria for appropriateness. Something they don't see, or more often don't want to see. I've worked with too many like them, and listened to their response, "I'm just being me.", or, "I'm just being honest."

Yeah right, and an asshole to boot.

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