Your Eyes Are Not Yet Open

Writing a novel has driven home one of the truest truths of communication: your message will not be received the same way by everyone, and quite often will be received in a way that you did not expect.  We can only control what we send out; we can only do so much with it.  But no matter what we do, how much we hone something, how much time we spend smoothing out its rough edges, we can’t do anything about the ears, the mindset, the tinted lenses of the receiver.


Every time I think something is 100% clear, here comes the Humilty Bus to run me over, and then slam into reverse and back over my wriggling body.  It’s clear to me because I wrote it. I already know everything.  Getting proofread by my wife and brother is eye-opening. They’ll see things a different way or take a word at a different value or alternate meaning — perfectly within reason, though I never thought of it because my mind was stuck in the story I was telling.

After reading their comments, I’m able to look ahead and think like they’ll think, see things the way they might, and make changes that take away those opportunities for misunderstanding.

But know this: there will always be those opportunities, no matter what you do.  Communication in any form is paradoxical like that.  You can take all kinds of measures to reduce the chance of misunderstanding, and yet, very rarely will your message be received exactly, perfectly, 100% the way that you intend it to. That’s why you can never get lazy with it.

Tupac summarizes this life lesson the best:

it’s a setup
…keep your head up