What Are You Overlooking?

The other day on the way to work I saw a tree all by itself on the side of the road. Even though I’ve driven by this tree thousands of times it’s the first time I’ve ever noticed it.  I actually thought to myself, “Has that tree always been there?”

Not sure why it’s taken 15 years of driving past that tree to notice it? Perhaps it was the light hitting it different but whatever it was I’ve been thinking about that tree and how it could relate to the rest of my life.

Are there “trees” in my marriage, my relationship with my kids, or my career that I’m missing because I’m on auto-pilot?

This week I’m going to open my eyes and ears and be intentional about paying attention to my surroundings and the people in my life. Care to join me?

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Where’s the Common Courtesy?

I’ve noticed a frustrating trend.  The general lack of common courtesy and respect for others at movies, concerts, and live events.

We spent this weekend at a dance competition and I was appalled at everyone who just came and went as they pleased blocking the view of people who wanted to watch the performances.  Each one lasted a maximum of four minutes.  They could have waited and slipped in and out between dances.

I’ve seen it at the movie theater too.  The group that arrives five minutes after the show has started and stands up front looking for a place to sit.  Then takes a poll with each other about which seats are best.  Here’s a thought… take the closest seats and enjoy the show.

Am I just a cranky old guy or have you noticed it too?  What lacks in common courtesy have you witnessed at events?

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Did You Really Mean That?

When you speak with someone face-to-face you get the full message. You hear the words.  You see their body language and facial expressions.  You can hear the tone in their voice.  That’s not the case with written communication.  All you get then is words on a page or screen.

That’s why written communication can sometimes come across wrong… or not as you had intended.  I was reminded of this yesterday.

Friday afternoons are the busiest, most stressful time of my week.  I was missing a file so I emailed the person who I knew had it.  The response I got back kind of ticked me off at first.

All it said was, “It’s in the email I sent yesterday”.

The way my mind at the time read it was, “Duh, you idiot!  It’s in the email I sent yesterday.  Quit bothering me and check before you email me next time!

I have no way of knowing if that’s really how they meant it but in mind they could of prevented me thinking they were rude by responding with something like, “You must not have noticed but it’s in the email I sent yesterday.  Let me know if you can’t find it and I’ll be happy to send it again.  Have a great weekend.

While not necessary, the second response definitely would have come across as more polite.

Looking back on it now the email came across short and rude to me because I was really stressed out and running behind. The fact I was silently calling myself an idiot for not realizing I already had the file didn’t help either.

This example, while trivial, has reminded me of the importance of reading back texts or emails before I send them to make sure the message I really want to get across is clear.

It’s also a reminder for me to re-read messages I get and give the sender the benefit of the doubt… and not assume they meant to be rude.

As society shifts away from verbal communication to more text based communication it’s important to realize that misinterpretations can happen.  No facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice leaves you with just words.

Have you ever read a text or email the wrong way?

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