the art of describing

This movie is boring.
He’s driving like a jerk.
My colleague is lazy.

These are all versions of judgment statements. I’ve assessed the situation, made assumptions about what you or others are thinking, come to a conclusion, and perhaps even stated it as fact.

walked in your shoesThe art of describing is the art of changing our words.

We move from assuming and stating and move to describing and asking questions.

What do the above look like from a descriptive view?

I am bored by this movie. (You might actually be enjoying the movie. My boredom makes no assumptions or judgements about your feelings about the movie and importantly allows you to continue to enjoy the movie.)

He is driving above the speed limit and has changed lanes multiple times. (I wonder why he is doing this because I really have no idea. Maybe he’s enjoying the open road and sunny day or maybe he just got a scary call and is rushing to deal with an emergency. I don’t have to drive close to him and risk an accident, but neither do I have to jump to conclusions regarding his motivation.)

I am frustrated at work because the last 3 assignments have all come to me and it seems that my colleague has not been assigned any. (Complicated for sure! I don’t know what else has been assigned to her and also don’t know why there seems to be disparity in the assignments. But I will get further in the discussion if I start by asking my boss or my colleague to help me understand how the projects were assigned than by assuming I ‘know’ why.)

Small steps. But when I intentionally begin to use describing words rather than assuming or judgmental words, I open up a space for learning about how the other person feels. A space where I can be curious. A space, where perhaps, I may even learn something about myself.

maryjoburkhard.com #culturethriving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>