Not Up To You

Confrontation is hard. You rehearse a few times in your head before you feel ready — even after much rehearsal you don’t feel ready, but eventually you can’t wait any longer.

You’ve rehearsed enough to know how this will go. You’ll say “This isn’t working out,” or whatever it is you’ve got to say, and she’ll say, “You’re a jerk.” Then there will be a long, heated discussion, during which you’ll try to speak clearly about feelings that aren’t at all clear, try to rationalize them even though you’re not smart enough to know why you really feel the way you do. You’re smart enough to relay a coherent story, and in fact constructing a coherent story is what you spent most of your rehearsal time doing, but you lack the necessary perspective to know whether your story is true.

“This isn’t working out,” you say. And she says, “What can we change to make it work?”

You don’t know, because that’s not what she asked in your head in rehearsal.

I keep forgetting that most decisions don’t get made alone, and that most ideas don’t arrive from nowhere. I don’t know where the myth of the solitary thinker comes from, the lone Philosopher armed with just his thoughts and a pen, delivering ideas and opinions from the void. But I do think it’s a myth.

Good ideas and good decisions come from duos and groups, during arguments and conversations.