When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

I’ve noticed something occur multiple times in the past few weeks where something was communicated, and there it was laid out straightforward and the information didn’t just quite click.

There were a few occasions where I had written instructions to people at work thinking I was making it easier for them by having the information in writing for them to refer back to. But they didn’t follow the instructions.

In another situation, I was given instructions about particular policy on pricing. I even read the email multiple times for doing what I had to do. But it wasn’t until someone said it to me that I was able to understand. I felt kind of dumb because I was really trying to follow the directions and just didn’t understand. It did, however, make me more understanding of those who didn’t absorb the information in my emails.

There was a third situation where my boss asked me to look over a PowerPoint presentation someone had prepared. She did a lovely job including screenshots in the slides and was well versed in the subject to be able to explain it. As I read the slides, I felt they needed some explanation of the topics she only listed.

I mentioned to her that it’s helpful for people learning information for the first time to hear and see it, but she was adamant that the the presentation was perfect the way it was and the procedures could be provided in a document later on.

Fortunately, I mustered up enough self control to be tactful and not angrily point out that our boss had asked for my feedback for a reason. I just stated my points and offered my help if she wanted it. Her supervisor was copied in my email reply so I left it at that. He gently suggested we meet and I scheduled it for the next day to give myself time to cool down.

When we for together she still felt the slides didn’t need to be changed. Finally, I couldn’t keep quiet anymore and I said it. Our boss, “asked for my opinion and this is it”. I wished I didn’t say it like that but I couldn’t help it anymore. My opinion was sought for a reason. I did try to be softer with her as I gathered the info to add to the slides, after all, I didn’t know anything about the subject, she was the expert. I hope she was pleased with the outcome and would see that it would help people understand the information she would be presenting.

All of these situations remind me of Easter. People had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds, maybe a few thousand years even, and still didn’t understand. Even those who had the privilege of being a part of his ministry didn’t understand what he was really saying about being the Savior. Like at the Last Supper when Jesus was talking about having to die Matthew 16:21, or when the apostles told Thomas they had seen Jesus after the resurrection John 20:24-29, or when the people at the temple didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about when he said he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days John 2:19. It wasn’t until after the resurrection that the started to understand what he had been saying John 20:9.

I’m not really sure what the solution is, other than being open to revising our opinion as our understanding increases and being patient with those who don’t quite get it yet.