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telephone

Recall that game they used to make us play as children? Everyone would sit in a circle and a whisper would go from ear to ear - by the time it went even a quarter way around the circle the words were completely transformed from what left the first child's lips.

As an adult I feel like that game should have simply been called "communication."
Lately I've realized the limits of my communication abilities. It seems I have control over what leaves my lips but very little control over what people hear. The more complicated the idea, the more likely it will get distorted.

Perhaps I just noticed this because I am trying to convey more complicated ideas these days, but I doubt it.

I noticed this difficulty because my expectations have changed. Previously all my communications were results driven. Other than when I talk to close friends (which is an entirely different matter) I would say something with an end result in mind. If the end result was achieved then I would consider myself understood. While that makes sense - it is also very manipulative.

Lately I realized that I am not so interested in people jumping when I tell them to. I'd rather talk about the importance of jumping and let them make their own decision. While this sounds great and enlightened on paper, in real life it is a lot easier to get people to jump than to try and make sure they understand the issues around whether or not to jump in the first place.

Suddenly I am realizing how many nuances get lost and how easy it is not to convey the big picture to people. Recently I read of this study where people tap out a song and someone has to guess what song they are tapping. The people doing the tapping always over estimate their ability to convey the song. This is because they aren't hearing what they are tapping apart from the song they hear in their head. Communication is like this - words seems so inadequate at times to relay an entire song or vision dancing around between your ears or growing in your heart.

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