Listen to a new set of eyes

When I am working on the project I immerse myself into every aspect of that project. I look at some project and I plan. Sometimes the plan doesn’t turn out so well. Usually, when something doesn’t work right I start to imagine all kinds of large complicated issues and solutions. For some reason, I tend to make the problem larger than it really is. Most the time I work by myself, in my shop. It is rare to have anyone come and look at my progress. I really don’t like having someone look at a project before it is finished.
Every now and then someone does come and look at my project. Most the time it is my wife. As she visits me while I’m working, she would look at the project. Sometimes, one of my neighbors will come by and visit and take a look at my project. I’m always anxious to point out the progress of the project. But is rare that I ask for anyone’s opinion on how it is going. Usually, when things started going bad and someone visits the project, I will mention one of the problems in my conversation with them.
Many times, the person looking at the project will make mention of a possible solution for my problem. In years past, I would dismiss their observations and possible solutions. For some reason, in my mind they could not possibly understand what the problem was or how to fix it. Usually I dismiss their knowledge of a project or any solution that they offer. Why? I guess I really thought that only I could do fix the problem that I started. Part of that thought process was because I was a male chauvinist pig. Women and children had no place in my shop around my projects. I simply thought that there was no way they could understand the complexities of the problem.
Well I was wrong. There been many times when my wife would walk out to the shop and look at a project and suggest on how to fix any problem. Sometimes, she would suggest on how to proceed with the project. My initial instinct was to thank her very much and then dismiss the advice. In recent years, I have changed my attitude on this and I started listening to what she has to say. There many times that her fresh set of eyes would point out an obvious and sometimes simple way to handle the project or problem.
Sometimes, when I have a visit from family members and they have small children, I have them visit my shop. And there been several occasions when the fresh set of eyes of a young child pointed out the obvious solution to a problem. When it happens, I almost feel like I am the one who cannot understand the project or problem. That is not to say that their suggestions are simple, but their suggestions are the obvious solution that for some reason I cannot see.
Because of these experiences I have tried to adapt an attitude of listening to another set of eyes. I’ve always known that there’s more than one way to handle a problem. But for some reason I was not capable of listening to others and their suggestions. I would usually just try to be polite and thank them for their thoughts and then disregard the thought. Now, I ask for someone with a fresh set of eyes to look at my project and give me suggestions. There many times that I am amazed of how sharp and intuitive my wife is. She is good at looking at a project and pointing out the obvious problem. That alone can sometimes be irritating. But she follows up with her ideal on how to fix the problem. And more times and not she’s right.
In the past if somebody were to point out how to fix a problem and they were right, I would take your suggestion without properly thanking them or showing them how their suggestion work.
Here is my thought for the day. Listen to another set of eyes. Instead of making something so simple into something so complex that you cannot figure out a solution, have someone else look at it. When my neighbors came by and looked at my shop and a project I would be quick to point out how good it looked. But if they were to suggest some changes or improvements, I seem to take some sort of offense at their advice. But it doesn’t take long after they’re gone to realize that they were right. That their new set of eyes looked at something that I cannot see. It is almost like the saying that I was too close to the trees to see the forest.
I now enjoy listening to the advice of my wife and others when it comes to my projects. Even if it’s a six-year-old family member or his 12-year-old brother who looks at the problem and presents their ideals for fixing it. This is taken a change of attitude towards my projects. I no longer want to keep it to myself. I do not think that I am the only one that has the right answer for my projects. I no longer feel that the project is my property and no one else should mess with it.
There was a book which expressed the concept of territorial imperative. Basically, someone takes ownership of a place, a project or belonging. And when someone infringes on that place, project or belonging that person will take it as an attack and would be quick to defend that project, It’s like a gang of people who consider a portion of the city or the country as their turf. Even though they don’t really own any part of the land or city they feel that it is theirs and they need to defend it even if it means violence.
For me, I felt ownership of my projects and I felt like if there were any comments towards them I needed to defend them usually, not by violence, but by dismissing their comments. It was almost like I was being attacked. How dare anyone look at my work and give me advice about the project?
Maybes because now I’m older, maybes because I’ve made so many mistakes that I actually want to throw the project away, but I’ve learned to listen to the fresh set of eyes. I’m amazed at some of the suggestions that I receive from people who I thought, in the past, had no ideal always capable of helping me with my project. That is not to say that if someone was to walk in and trash talk my project that I wouldn’t go into the territorial imperative attitude and want to strike back.
But I have found that most people who will give you advice do it with no malice in mind. They’re there to express an opinion that they think will be helpful to you. It is important that you think those people for participating. They could just say it all looks fine and walk on. But that does not help you. You need to listen to that fresh set of eyes and let them know that you appreciate the participation. Pops

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