Jesse Cravens

Building Modern Web Applications and Teams that Deliver

Siddhartha: Reflection, Blogging, and Thinking Before We Speak

He reflected deeply, until this feeling completely overwhelmed him and he reached a point where he recognized causes; for to recognize causes, it seemed to him, is to think, and through thought alone feelings become knowledge and are not lost, but become real and begin to mature. - Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

One thing my mother always told me was, “You don’t have a whole lot to say, but you sure have a lot to write about.” These days, I communicate through talk much more effectively than I did when I was younger. Although, I still would prefer to have the time to think about what I say through a process like writing before I speak and stand the chance of being misunderstood.

I’m sure I’m not alone. Effective communication is numero uno in importance for the success of any relationship, we all know this, yet it is so difficult to find the time to do it well. I watch people struggle with this in everything I do and have done in the past. Communication is a multi-faceted interchange of ideas, feelings, beliefs. Energies are being exchanged, insecurities are covering thoughts, changing thoughts, and half truths are even spoken in the name of self-interest. It takes a very analytical individual to decipher individual intentions, yet we all have to be real. Stop and take a look around at what we have become: Marriages: Even the most sacred of words, the wedding vow, has become insincere hogwash in 50% of cases. The Death of the Salesman and All Marketers are Liars: Consumer purchasing decisions are becoming more and more based on the buying experiences of close friends and family. Politics: well…exactly my point.

Let’s face it…insincerity has become a 21st Century American cultural norm, and surely all this insincerity has taken its toll on effective communication. Personally, I’m weary of it.

Take the whole job interview process for example. As of lately, I have been acknowledging the whole idea of insincerity during the onset of the interview. In part, to evaluate the interviewer. If the interviewer acts as though they have no understanding of what I am referring to, I know from the beginning an unhealthy relationship may be in the making.

Maybe these dynamic, short-termed mindscapes are a reflection of environmental adaptations. In today’s world, everything changes so fast…and we as individuals need to change to keep up. So maybe rampid insincerity is a reflection of this larger trend.

Nevertheless, I feel it is important to reflect deeply, to check oneself, and evaluate one’s own intentions. As Hesse stated, we need to ‘recognize the causes’ of our thoughts and actions. We need to think deeper about the ramifications of our words. Words are very powerful, and in today’s world one simple statement can have a long lasting effect on another’s impression of your integrity, honesty, etc. This is especially important in the workplace.

In conclusion…Writing, or a public style of writing such as blogging, helps us stay accountable for our thoughts. If we are brave enough to put these thoughts in writing for everyone to read, perhaps we are making a commitment to be more accountable to the ideas we are expressing. Maybe not. Either way, at least we are making a public commitment to think before we speak.