How Rational Are We?

How rational are we?

This week a 4 or 5m shark attacked a swimmer at a beach in Sydney. It was a horrific, tragic and fatal attack.

I can’t stop thinking about it. And I haven’t been in the ocean here since. Never mind that 294 people drowned in Australian waterways in the past year, and the last shark fatality was some 50 years ago. A monster of the deep – the boogey-man – is what plays disproportionately on the mind.

And yet most of us interact with each other in a literal fashion as rational beings most of the time, often leading to frustration and confusion.

In acting, we were taught that people rarely say what they mean. A conversation about an item of clothing might really be flirtation. A child playing rough with a pet might really be a cry for attention. Good actors listen for the subtext in a scene and attend to that.

In coaching, we similarly are taught to listen to ‘everything but the story’. Good coaches attend to the whole coachee – their emotions, their tone, even their physicality – as opposed to merely the spoken word.

The next time you interact with a work colleague or loved one, perhaps ask yourself the killer question; ‘What’s really going on here?’.

And speak to that as opposed to just the surface communications.

Have a great week.


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