Making Sense Of…


“Jed, that don’t make no sense!”

     – Granny, to Jed, in The Beverly Hillbillies, in (what seemed like) dang near every episode

Seriously, the list of things that do make sense seems pretty short compared to the list of things that don’t.

Friends of She and me recently suffered their second unimaginable loss in less than six months.   That crap will drive you crazy if you try to make sense of it.  An amazing family.  An amazingly close family.  A family of exceptionally good people.  It makes no sense on any level.  (See “one” below…)

A deal I’ve been negotiating for two weeks took about three squirrely turns in five hours, including two turns that looked like the Figure 8 Demolition Derby at the county fair.  “Why would they demand that?”  “Why would they concede on that?”  “Why would we expect…”  It was sort of like a parallel universe mashup with a Glengarry Glenross remake…

It makes me stop and wonder, why do we try to make sense of things that don’t make sense?

One, in times that don’t make sense — Faith comes in pretty handy.  (Technically, Faith comes in pretty handy no matter what’s going on, but I digress…)

Two, maybe we have a distorted impression of what “makes sense.”

Three, what if our filter on “making sense” isn’t functioning correctly?

Four, what if our expectations are off?  Way off?  And, if we wanted to go to “4b” — why do we lean so heavily on expectations in general?

Making sense of things tends to be based on either our experiences (which influence our expectations) or our belief of what should happen next.  “Should” is one of the most dangerous words in the English language.

Maybe our energy would be better invested in focusing on what just happened and what is happening now.  And maybe, we ought to drop the veil of secrecy and ask:  “Hey, just out of curiosity, why are you asking for __________.”  Our firm’s contract calls for payment terms of “x” days.  Our Clients’ “standard” verbiage requires “x-plus-75-days.”  Neither position makes sense to the other party.

So, I went all goofy.

“Hey,” I asked, “you think our “x” days is dopey, and we think your “x-plus-75-days” is dopey.” Where’s a good place to settle that can get us both something to feel good about?”

We agreed to terms in less than five minutes.  It was over e-mail, so it might have been less than five seconds…

“What makes sense…” involves assumptions on one or both parties.

“What if we…” is a great place to move from “what makes sense” to “what might work.”  Possibility thinking is a powerful thing.

And it beats the heck out of trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense.

 


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