Ajani O
7 min readAug 2, 2021

Quick 7…

In addition to it being “back".

I’ve been in an odd situation career wise recently and with my roommates return I’ve been able to scale that oddness to myself to set up a potential “practice” to protect myself from false interpretations.

These interpretations even happen within my discussions with Family, including my Mother (the person who likely knows me best haha).

So why is it that when I’ve been communicating with many different parties in many different relationships to my life… I’ve been able to generate so much noise.

I think there’s two aspects…. Well three technically… where aspect #1 is… life is chaotic and we’re all managing chaos in silos as best we can (at a certain point of time)….. go that’s a given but then aspect #2 is conciseness (and a lack of ability to confirm the specifically concise nature of a comment) and aspect #3 is assumption based. In every conversation… at a minimum there are two people arriving with a massive degree of assumptions tied into the meaning of all the words spoken (from a literal perspective)…. Given this then… from my perspective aspect #3 is about quickly scaling concise language choices to validated assumptions…. The key word there being validated.

I’ve switched to a communications model of validating assumptions during discussions to ensure I’m aware of “net net" contextualized meaning to the initial “ask" (IE: the reason for the discussion). I mainly used my interpretation of the book “Never Split the Difference" as my “how to" guide for this (I was drawn to that book in some many different ways that it likely meant a lot to me from a sentimental perspective… on top of being a phenomenal book!). I think based on my recent audio book listens I’ve also combined that initial interpretation with whatever I was able to understand from “The Organized Mind".

Anyway… all this is to say those two books in combination with my performance team work has enabled me to scale discussions to concise (key words) related to the “ask" (point of the discussion) very quickly. Adding ADHD on top of this likely creates see bizarre state where my focus to be present/in flow for maximum performance… means I’m often already at a point in discussion that is somehow “ahead” of the other party who is likely not scaling the discussion to their personal understanding in “real-time" similar to how I’ve been doing lately (especially since my practice is more scientific in nature at this point).

My ability to scale my communication has made me “robotic" to some… which is something that’s always been uttered about me as a nice but backhanded compliment since childhood haha.

So how does this impact the 3 aspects…. It just simply means that given my curious nature (the book curious is also amazing and should be considered in conjunction with the 2 mentioned above… as well as with the inner game of tennis and…. The bullet journal method…. And probably the power of habit lol… I’ve listened to a lot of great books during covid!).

So how does this all fit into the “odd situation” mentioned above…. It’s because of something I’ve been concerned with based on my performance team work and the volume of technical information I normally choose to consume…. I’m a bit “too self aware” to the point where it appears I’m obliviously lacking in my nature to care for the other parties level of understanding during discussions. Folks think I’m trying to interrupt them because I’ve already scaled/mapped their initial key terms in the discussion to a “window" that focuses where the discussion’s focus has to go to in order to produce a tangible result for all.

Now this is where it’s complicated and I have to improve…. Is a tangible “result for all"… possible when the other folks in the room do not realise that we’ve already built the frame for the “window" that we then have to parse out the details on (needs/goals/steps to perform and accomplish the needs, etc.).

I’ve found myself repeating very interesting statements as if they’re parables for my life experiences lately haha… one of them is the classic “does the emperor have no clothes?”, “Am I the boy crying wolf or am I the canary in the coal mine?”…. I just heard another great one that will eventually be rephrased as a question and it’s…. “You don’t dress up to go no where"… one that fits in very well with “does the emperor have no clothes"… essentially these three statements transform into… “why are we here in this discussion"… and “what do we expect out of it"…

I’ve struggled with confirming what everyone else believes the answers to those questions are… especially when they take on a position of power during the discussion to then steer the discussion into a place that cannot proceed to producing a tangible result for all (based on said power parties own usage of concise key words)….

I need to learn how to “play dumb" in these situations because at face value I’ve tried to help the power parties discussion by asking questions that enable the discussion to be valuable for all parties present… and this is normally misunderstood (which I can understand why and could be another long post but I’m not super interested in exploring that aspect of this… I’d prefer to assume it to “be" a constant).

So how can I do that? I’ve been asking my roommate and my family in discussions why they’ve understood a clear and concise statement differently than intended? (Note: normally when this happens folks try desperately to pivot to some sort of strawman without knowing it or… doing so by design). I’ve also asked a colleague that was present in a work discussion that was totally misunderstood… that colleague actually doubled down on my “not justifying it"…. Prior to even understanding what I meant.. so this kind of noise during discussion is insanely perverse in my life… this “justify it" was that individuals strawman… they had a core belief that they believe was observed and validated…. Therefore nothing I say or actually meant could justify what they believed to be “my actions".

So far my roommate and family have been able to paint out some clear examples and quite honestly… it’s scary how easily they’ve both been able to confirm how much they’ve misinterpreted what I’ve said. Usually it’s associated to something ego related, where tangible discussion on the “window" is highly likely to touch onto something that other party believes is a core focus of their personal purposes or identity…. Based on their “asks" provided earlier in the discussion… I must be assuming that the other party is aware of their relationship to interpreting any comments on those core personal issues to be separated from the discussion at hand.

And that’s where everything gets chaotic. Folks aren’t going to arrive into every discussion willing to open up on those issues as much as me (so I’ve got a personal bias I’m also fighting against)… they’re likely not as highly trained as much as me too (because of the performance team and my own personal curiosity for learning… a 2nd bias point)…. I manage these biases by arriving with an open mind to every discussion to scale it appropriately because… I have no interest in keeping track of where my own beliefs fit into the discussion… I take focused notes that enable to do that type of review after the conversation.. and normally I don’t have to go back to the notes…. Which is what the objective is…. To stay in flow and be present to each moment.to appreciate it at face value.

So being aware that I’m likely in a different mindset entirely to everyone I come into contact with is…. Scary but… not dangerous and not bad at all. I’m pretty excited about what I do next to overcome this and to learn how to “level out" every discussion I’ll be in going forward.

I think I’m going to take a step back and not be so focused on building out the “window" and it’s frame so early in the process. I’ll have to take a longer range approach and fit that into my scheduling of tasks that enable me to meet my goals. It’s a big ask for me… but I can only be responsible for me… and that includes making the folks I’m in discussions with feel more happy about the experience of discussions with me.

It’s a bit sad as well… since I’ve realised my playful nature wants me to be so focused on the “ask" to provide valued help and service to anyone I come into contact with but… that’s coming off as being too intense for the other parties I suppose. While I’m scaling I’m enabling a massive amount of assumptions to be triggered by other parties… and they’re not as willing as I am to ask focused questions that enable the necessary personal scaling to the assumption….. it’ll be something I’ll be focused on with the performance team for the next little while…. I don’t need the noise and folks personal issues generating so much unease in my life. I owe it to myself and the goals I want to accomplish to protect myself and to keep everything on the “happy path" before someone’s misunderstanding has the opportunity to create a disruption in my tasks providing value to my life goals. (IE:… enabling others to create issues with my approach automatically means a task is created in my schedule to respond to their strange interpretations…)

Either way, I’m pretty darn excited to see what happens next anyway!

Ajani O

U of T Grad... Project Management Career Seeking Extraordinary Human Being...