Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hit or Miss

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality,
they are not certain;
and as far as they are certain,
they do not refer to reality

Albert Einstein

I was watching Arya make basketball shots using Malik's toy ring when I concentrated on the momentum of shooting. There are several deterministic variables that decide whether or not the ball goes through the ring; distance, the pressure of throwing the ball, the fixity of the material of the ball and the ring and its reaction towards the pressure of the ball hitting the board (momentum).

You can calculate mathematically and determine a certain answer of whether or not the ball makes a hit or miss. All of the variables interact with each other - a string of actions and responses - which finally determine the result.

It got me to thinking about interpersonal communication. Before communicating with another person we have a goal set in our mind to deliver messages accepted in a certain way by the receiver. Resolving a fight with your partner, trying to make your children do the things you want them to, teaching, conducting a presentation, leading a meeting - the list is virtually endless.

Sometimes we are so focused on getting the message across - throwing the ball so to speak - that we lose control over the momentum. Sometimes we are too focused on making a hit with the ball that we concentrate less on calculating the distance, pressure, material, and reaction.

And the ball misses.

When talking with someone we need to understand what they are 'made of' (i.e character), because it determines how they will react towards what we say. We need to calculate the 'volume' of our voice, our angle, and the choice of words.

The same logic is applicable to other types of interaction; group, organisational, intercultural, and social interaction to name a few. We need to take into account all of the variables that come into play to select effective methods.

As I was observing Arya, the more he misses, the higher his stress level. The higher his stress level, the higher his degree of error. We need to be able remain objective in order to block out the noise of stress - to better our concentration and increase the probability of succeeding. But on the other hand, the more the mistakes, the better we calculate and control variables which help us master the skills of making hits.

But even then, sometimes we still miss. Despite all our calculation, we cannot fully control anything in our lives. And focusing on the effort becomes a good block to the noise of us stressing on our failures.

Because sometimes, calculating is the only thing we can do. And that the most important part is actually;

knowing when to let go of the ball.


Andri said...

I really like your analogy. Indeed it's very true. I was just had a job interview in which I was asked how I would deliver my message to others -to make them listen to me. When I answered that instead of making them listen to me, I would listen to them first. Just like the point you're making. Everyone is 'made of'. I need to know why such a rejection towards an idea for improvement, for example. Understanding their concerns and trying to look things from their angle. I believe that a 'dialogical' approach is better in reaching out to people's heart. Rather than acting selfish by drawing the authority line between us and them. Showing off of power. Nevertheless, I guess we just need to keep practicing. To 'build' the intuitions of the fixity of the ball, the sense of distance to the ring, and the amount of power to throw the ball. Maybe then we'll know when (and how) to let the ball go.... ^_^

Inaya Rakhmani said...

I really admire what you do, by the way. Pasti menenangkan sekali bekerja pakai hati.

And I completely agree on your point :)