you can learn a lot about someone when ______________ . i’ve heard the phrase in lots of contexts: you can learn a lot about someone when the chips are down, times are tough, the unexpected occur, the deadline is approaching, they lose, and on and on and on. recently, the events surrounding labron james and his decision not to shake hands after being bounced in the playoffs has come under fire, again bringing up the idea of how people deal with adversity is when they show their true colors. i’m not so sure that’s the case. why is it that when people react to someone difficult that is their true colors and not the other way around? i mean, 95% of the time we aren’t faced with those tough circumstance, but the 5% of the time when we are stressed THAT is our true colors? seems like it should be the other way around. perhaps it is the idea that our true selves are being shrouded during good/stable times is what bothers me. i agree we can learn a lot about people when we look at how they deal with the difficult but i’m not ready to say that is who they “really are”. maybe it depends on the context. my job isn’t generally full of stress so when deadlines approach or big events are looming and the office gets a bit stressed it is seen as a seldom experienced event. if i were in a job that brought tough times several times a week i could see my comfort level changing in this regard. in the classroom i was truly the master of my domain – i was the only one of my kind on my campus and i dealt with my calendar, lessons, presentations and stress levels in isolation; perhaps more to the point it wasn’t necessary for me to witness the struggles of my peers. no so in my current position. with 2 BIG weeks coming up my team (in addition to nearly all the other pds teams in the building) have been getting ready and truth be told, this is what got me thinking about the whole “you learn a lot about…” but in reality i think this week has affirmed the old, very scholarly, adage ‘there is no wrong way to eat a reese’s’. gathering materials, prepping presentations, counting materials, making copies, sending emails, gathering visuals, etc, etc, etc. is something we all prioritize in different way and in the end everything generally gets done. it works…IF you are functioning in isolation. example: if i opened a package of Reese’s cups and split it with a friend i couldn’t care less how they ate their Reese’s cup: edges first, inside out, outside in, crushed & smeared on a piece of wax paper – it just doesn’t matter to me, because i would have my own. but what happens when we have to share? what happens when my preparation is predicated on the work of other members of my team? the whole working in isolation argument goes out the window. in this case we may have 2 very incompatible systems that need to work together = the joys of collaboration. while i certainly don’t feel the need to add disclaimers, for the sake of a stressful upcoming 2 weeks i’ll say that my system has worked to a near flawless execution with my team members. the systems we use are far from identical, but they’re malleable enough to make it work. my observations around the office just got me thinking. perhaps i should switch to kit kats, 4 pieces but not nearly as exciting.
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