Friday, June 28, 2013

Casual Fridays: Justified Ignorance

I recently read a few things that got me thinking and, as a result, may get into some deeper thought on this Casual Friday.

The first was a black picture that read "I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you." 

The second was George Takei's op-ed piece in the Washington Post about the recent DOMA ruling by the supreme court. Without getting into the politics of the issue (this is Casual Friday after all), he described the "ick" factor as being a strong motivation for people's thoughts and opinions.

The irony is how indirectly relatable I find these two pieces to be. This relation is what I call the "uhh" factor. This is where I will explain a concept to someone, and rather than indicate that they do not understand, they nod and smile and pretend the conversation never took place or - worse yet - construct a fantasy land that puts them in the moral high ground when the things they do not understand do not come together as they intended despite cautions to the contrary.

My job - by definition - is to help you understand technology. This means explaining very technical things in a way you can understand and use them. I will sit and explain something in simpler and simpler terms until you un-scrunch your forehead to indicate your understanding.

There can be no communication without understanding. Without an honest attempt to understand, there can be no communication. 

The bottom line is that when dealing with concepts that you do not understand, don't let the "uhh" factor stand in the way of your understanding. Actively listen, actively ask questions, and if a concept goes over your head, indicate that you do not get it.


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