ince this is a blog about communication and media (and writing), I’ll relate an interesting conversation I heard today. I’d just given my 31st gallon of blood and was treating myself to chicken fingers at Applebee’s. Sat out on the patio a short distance from a young guy and girl who (from the overheard sounds of their conversation) were trying to get to know each other (Working relationship? First date?). They were a bit mismatched – he was a young guy just looking for the next thing he would buy, relating all sorts of stories about other people. And she was trying to find herself (and himself), drilling deeper into the strata of conversation.
In a sense, it reminded me of the old Robot Question – I won’t go into it here but basically it’s not about the answer but how you answer. And I think she was trying to gauge his depth using such tools.
So, at one point, she asked “What is it you value?”
He hemmed and hawed about family (of course) and improvement (in a sense that it would lead to more money). Kinda like the answer to “who would you like to have lunch with” and the old Jesus/Mother Terresa answer. Or Doctor Horrible muttering “Gandhi” when his crush is horrified of his first role model selection.
But she asked it again and again, approaching it from different directions. I could see he wasn’t into the conversation and wanted to get back to cars and money and gossip. Yes, I would have liked to have chatted with her. I’d not given it a thought in the last year or so, but watching passing cars while munching on chicken, I thought about my own values (especially following our national divides over such things).
And that’s what is important. If you are honest with yourself and remove from your thoughts those sound-bite answers you’ll toss off on Facebook, if you really get down to what your own values are, you can re-center your life onto the line it should be on. I’m pretty much living in the space I agree with, with appropriate efforts towards fairness and equality. I’m not going to go into those values – they are mine and if you know me, you should be able to guess what they are. But you should take a moment and think about your own values. Reflect on them. Re-commit to them.
What are your values?