I was in a meeting on Friday and one of the people in the meeting looked at me and said pointblank, “you just don’t get it”.
They were right.
When you hear “you don’t get it”, it’s a sure sign they do not understand your position AND you do not understand theirs. They are saying, “you don’t understand my argument or you would know I am right”. Which is, of course non-sensical, of course they are wrong! No seriously, if you really did get it then you would understand their position well enough that you could make arguments they could hear and you would both get it. Either that or you are just being a jerk but that is a different blog. Until you understand their position so well you can argue it yourself you will never win the other person over. So next time you hear “you just don’t get it” respond with, “You are right, I must not get it, will you try and explain it to me again?” And when you commit to understanding their position the path out opens they will subconsciously start to understand your position.
For me, its actually easier to catch times when people think I am the idiot, its far more difficult for me to catch when I am the one calling them a dumbass. It’s so easy to get righteous and not hear my close-mindedness which blocks positive action. Once you decide to take positive action, start listening for yourself or someone in your group saying idiot, or what a dumbass, or man that guy is narrow minded, any of these variants of the infamous, “Oh look at our superior intellect” statements. The truth is, your intellect is not superior.
In my life I have talked with something like 1000 people at work, an average of 1 new person a week for 20 years. Of those I can say not a single one had an IQ of less than 100, probably not less than 115, which is to say, not a single stupid one in the lot. Of course in the first 10 years of my career I thought most everyone had a lesser intellect than me. Sad. Think about it, given I worked at premier companies, odds are, even if my IQ was 150, it was unlikely 80-90% of the people at work had lesser intellect than me. When you start doing the math, you quickly realize the % of people who actually have a lesser intellect than you vs the number of people you think have a lesser intellect is way out of whack. Mon dieu, how can this be, you say? Well, either you are not as smart as you think and therefor people actually are a match for my intellect, or you are not as smart as you think because you do not recognize how many people actually are a match for your intellect. Either way you are not as smart as you think.
What to do?
The basis of thinking someone is an idiot is hubris, you simply have a fat head. In reality, the majority of folks are quite smart and they are experts in their domain or at least as much of an expert as you. When you think their position is dumb it is because you do not understand all of the inputs that devised their position. This is most often the case, we assume we have a complete view of the situation and therefor we have THE resolution when in reality we have an incomplete view and can only contribute by seeking to understand the person’s view and bring new information to the table to help increase the quality of the resolution.
Seriously, everytime you find yourself saying they just don’t get it you have to recognize that always means you don’t get it. Yep. Its that simple, when you find yourself thinking someone else’s position is idiotic its a sure sign you do not understand their position. And when you do not understand their position what should you do? Seek to understand.
So regardless of who says who is a moron the path out is the same, recognize you don’t get it and then seek to understand the other persons position. Before you know, it a better solution encompassing both perspectives will emerge.