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Curbing My Enthusiasm

April 26, 2017

Curb My EnthusiasmMy Enthusiasm Can Be a Bit Much!

I get excited about things—perhaps you do too. I find, however, that my enthusiasm can sometimes be received by others as “preaching.” I truly don’t mean it to be that way, but, well, that’s how it is sometimes (often?) received. What to do?

Aware

It’s a tough cycle to break. I study a topic—say, Machine Intelligence and Work—and develop thoughts, concepts and a hypotheses about what it might mean to me and to others. I have always loved sharing what I’ve learned and discussing it with other people. Still, the enthusiasm can often cause more confidence than is warranted. My statements can sometimes be too strong.

The trick is to keep my love of continuous learning while sparing others an overly enthusiastic discussion. It is a balance between being an advocate for a concept, point of view or hypothesis without “preaching.”

Language Matters

I will have to experiment with this some more. I suspect that using less didactic language will help. Whether intended or not, often didactic speech is interpreted as being a bit patronizing. As in so many cases, I think being aware (really aware) of a challenge is more than 50% of the solution. And then of course, one has to remain aware of how one is being in order to successfully make the change. And that, I readily admit, is another challenge for me!

A didactic method is a teaching method that follows a consistent “scientific” approach or educational style to present information to students.—Wikipedia

I suspect that a lot of this way of learning and sharing is a result of my formal education. I have no intention of suggesting that thought as an excuse. It is simply a recognition of the path that may be why I am where I am today.

Life-time Student

It is human nature to assume others are a lot like who you are. I am a life-time student. I love learning new things and I love sharing what I learn. Therefore I generally assume (shame on me, eh?) that you too want to learn new things and would like someone, me, to share with you. Perhaps that’s true and perhaps that isn’t true—either in general or on a particular topic.

Here’s another pitfall for me. I think linearly for the most part. So, as we are discussing a topic, I want to make sure each step along the way is “correct” before going on the next step. After all, if we are building a view, the foundation has to be sound. Right?

This will often lead me to interrupt in order to validate a statement you make before moving on to the next part of the “argument” or hypothesis. Again, I’m not stating this as a way to excuse my bad habit of interrupting for my own clarification. I state it simply because it is important to me to understand the issue in order to change my habit.

Sum Etiamtum

I’m still learning. Self-discovery, it seems, never ends. At least not for me. But then, that’s what I believe gives meaning to our lives. As Socrates, via Plato’s Apology, suggested, “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”

 

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