Rowan Spazzoli

Strategist. Lecturer. Consultant

Communication station

Humans have lots of thoughts every second (I’m sure there’s an estimated number of thoughts per second but I’m feeling too lazy to google it right now, but there are a lot of thoughts). And the only person that knows about these thoughts is the person thinking them.

Until they share these thoughts. Until they communicate.

So in theory, if a person can have hundreds of different thoughts in a short space of time, they might end up at an entirely different end point having started at the same place as you.

In just a few minutes.

Now compound this over days, months or years. Across different work environments, different people, different scenarios. All while having different backgrounds.

This makes it very easy to end up on a different page to someone. You could think things are perfectly okay about a situation while your friend is having an internal meltdown.

Ideally, we could transmit the entire thought process to one another so that we know what’s going on.

Until then, we need to make an active effort to communicate.


Image was taken at my old school in May last year. I have a picture from today from the same spot but I was too lazy to get it off my phone

Blog: 179/365

Song of the day: Clocks – Coldplay

The Marathon Comrades

I wore my Cape Town Marathon shirt while running on the promenade this afternoon. It’s an offensively bright yellow apparatus that can be seen from miles away. On the front is the marathon logo and at the back it says “don’t run, fly!”

While on the run, I passed two other people that were wearing their marathon shirts. The first was an old man who, after seeing my shirt, waved at me, grinning from ear to ear, and I waved back. The second was a woman who raised her fist in support as I came by, and we locked eyes and laughed.

I had no idea who either of these people were. But in that brief moment, we realised we had been through the same thing together. On the 28th of September 2017 we spent a few hours in the same herd, running 42km.

Sharing experiences with strangers

I’m sure there are many strangers I pass by on a daily basis that I’ve had shared experiences with. They may have been at the same concert, cricket game or even at university at the same time I was.

However, there are few ways of discerning this without talking to them. And so a bright yellow shirt acts as a signalling device that communicates that we’ve done the same thing.

For this reason, I often wear a South African sports shirt while travelling overseas. On the off chance that there’s another South African near by, I’ll have someone to chat to and maybe even make a friend.

It’s a simple thing, but having a common experience means that you can identify with someone without even knowing them. And that might result in a friendship. Or maybe just a passing smile on the promenade


Image was taking on the prom (again) with Jared (who looks way more photogenic than me in this). Managed to fit in a sneaky 18km run 🙂 

 

Thesis update: got some writing done :)
Blog 77/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here

 

 

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Deconstructing our dark fantasies

In discussions with my therapist*, she pointed out that I build very intricate mental models (in her words “fantasies”) of people and use these to predict their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This comes from a place of fear, where I was scared of how people might act and of being terrified of confrontation.

So I have conversations with these “fantasies” instead of with the people they’re about, and then I make my decisions based on these. Often I get it right.

But I often get it wrong too.

Today I took an active step to speak to a person instead of talking to my fantasy of her. And it turns out my fantasy was very very wrong. As a result, so were my decisions and interactions with her.

The outcome was much better than I’d even realized, and it turns out we were actually on the same page the whole time.

Reflecting on this, part of the problem is the difficulty we have communicating as humans. We build mental heuristics, rules of thumbs, which we use. And these can be helpful. But they can also be very wrong. So we need to make an effort to communicate more frequently instead of relying on our mental models

In her words:

I know [these conversations] are not always comfortable, but slowly we chip away at the things that are holding us back from living our best.

*I was going to pretend that I was chatting to a friend, not my therapist, but when I thought about it I realized that we need to continue to fight to destigmatize mental health issues and treatment. So yes, I see a therapist regularly and she has been instrumental in helping me through mental health issues.

Title of this post is based on Dark Fantasies by Kanye West. I’ve been listening to the album on repeat today

Image is of two friends trying to speak through a horse on Seapoint promenade.

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