When I look at a problem or task, I see infinite possibilities. Each path is no better or worse than any other until proven otherwise. I am not satisfied with the “recommended” solution. Even with anecdotal evidence, I yearn to try multiple options.
I’m curious. I just want to see what happens. I want to experience it for myself. Sometimes, I like the non-recommended alternative better.
People on the opposite side of the analytical spectrum I refer to as “touchy-feely.” If that is you, please don’t be offended by this post. Instead, view it as a window into the mind of someone very different from yourself.
Touchy-feely people tend to see one solution, “the right way.” Of course, that’s just how it’s done. They may not even be able to explain it, but they know it when they see it.
Sorry, but that’s not very helpful to me.
It is especially bad when these touchy-feely people try to teach me something or evaluate me on an ambiguous task. How can I perform to your expectations when you can’t tell me what those expectations are? Of all the options I see, it is unlikely that I will stumble upon the one you think is right without some guidance.
Now, I don’t blame these people. We see the world very differently: I need to consciously understand how all the variables present interact. Touchy-feely people have a hard time even identifying what the variables are. They honestly don’t see them.
I had a brutal reminder of the differences between myself and touchy-feely evaluators earlier this week. As I climb out of the metaphorical wreckage and dust myself off, these are the three lessons I am taking away from the experience:
- Patience. When dealing with touchy-feely people, it takes extra time to figure out what each individual wants. Take the time to gather the data I need. The first try is merely a scouting expedition.
- Communicate and Ask Questions. A touchy-feely person will not offer the information I need. It does not occur to them that anyone would want to know those things. Also, if I have special considerations, I need to make it very clear to the touchy-feely person. Exceptions to their way do not come naturally to them.
- Be true to myself. Do what I know I need to do to thrive in these conditions. Do not feel pressured to cave in without justification. For me, that means DO NOT go first. Let others go, watch them, watch the evaluators, and learn. Stick up for myself. Just because I’m different doesn’t mean I’m unworthy.
Where do you fall on the analytical vs. touchy-feely spectrum? Do you have any advice for an analytical person like me? Share in the comments below.
*Photo Credit: Ashley H. (PuddleDuckAsh on Flickr), Creative Commons License