A wonderful mentor of mine used to say to me, “Talk processes. Not people.” I always thought that was so smart. And such great advice. When I would be very frustrated, I would remember those words and try to default to that idea. Rather than talk about the people that were being unreasonable or driving me crazy, I would work to focus on the process at hand. How best to address it. What needed to work better. Could we change it? Could we fix it?
Then I came across this little saying:
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
It’s so true. I have met people that live small lives, and I don’t mean simple lives. There are just people –you know the ones. They really aren’t too in tune with the rest of the world. When you are in conversation with them, you will find they do tend to talk more about people. Rather than current events. And rarely are they up for discussing new ideas.
I knew a couple that seemed to tell and re-tell the same stories. The memories revolved around a certain few time periods and were usually about a certain group of people. They rarely moved on from these stories, events, and people in all the years that I knew them. It wasn’t until one of them died that I finally heard new stories. Stories that included events I had never heard about before, people that had not ever been mentioned prior and even a few new and interesting ideas.
It was sad to me.
On the other hand, there is a woman I know that always talks about or wants to fill me in on the best new idea or information that she has just come across. She cuts articles from newspapers and mails them to me. If she has an idea or hears of something she thinks would help me, she emails it or mentions it to me when we talk on the phone. She doesn’t’ really talk about people. She talks about ideas and information. At 91, she has a great mind. She usually starts off our conversations with, “I was thinking…”
So, I thought I’d take a look at myself for awhile and see what it was that I talk about. I certainly got a bit nervous when I turned the mirror on myself. “Gee. Do I discuss people more than events? Do I discuss events more than ideas?” I’d sure like to think I have a great mind. But you know, I’m not so sure I want to hear the answer to that question. If truth be told.
It’s not rocket science, and I would definitely not base my life on that little saying, but I would have to tell you this, it certainly got my attention. So, this week, I am going to conscientiously focus on ideas. If you catch me discussing people in the days ahead, feel free to point me back to my blog, will you?