Responding to Nonsense

Guest Post by Byron Woodson of Keystone Organizing Systems

Once you’ve been making Wardley Maps for a while, you develop an allergy for BS. 

This can lead to impatience with ill-reasoned arguments. It can also lead to an attitude of outright dismissiveness toward other people and their ideas. That, however, will not make you any friends, and it certainly won’t win you any influence. 

Nonsense happens when you can’t make heads nor tails of something someone said or did. There are lots of reasons for something to not make sense, the most common of which is you NOT having information that they DO have.

To find patience with people and non-sense, learn to doubt. Doubt what you think. Doubt what you assume. 

Ask yourself: what would need to be true for the other person to be right? What makes you so sure that what they’re saying is nonsense? 

If you can get over yourself and get over your need to be right (even if you ARE right), you’ll find a more worthwhile game to play than being dismissive.

It’s a good thing that we can use Wardley maps to cultivate patience with people and their ideas. We use Wardley maps to lay out, examine and test the assumptions and beliefs of everyone we ask.

Any tool can either be a walking stick or a crutch, so it’s important to know when to lean on it and when not to.

Having a process to make sense out of what other people say helps you, helps the other person, and it helps the team or organization that you’re both involved with.

Wardley Mapping helps us put facts and assumptions on paper. And more importantly, it allows us to organize and arrange them on a grid to see how they fit together, or how they don’t.

Ask questions, jot notes on the grid, make points to represent those notes, ask more questions. Erase, move, and rewrite notes until the person you’re talking to thinks what you wrote / drew is right.

Above all, be patient with them. Helping someone make sense from non-sense is intense.

About Byron and Keystone Organizing Systems

Keystone Organizing Systems is the brainchild of Byron Woodson, a not-so-humble West Philadelphia native who prides himself on thinking very deeply about both deep and trivial things.

The mission of KOS is to find the essential activities that produce consistent success, and teach it to as many people as possible so that everyone can live the lives they need, deserve, and want.

KOS has a new business assessment, called the Entrepreneurship Score™️, which you can check out here.

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