Friday, March 13, 2009 by Dave Blum
In yesterday’s blog, I wrote about “decoding” situations. Now what does that mean?
According to Dictionary.com, “to decode” is:
1. to translate (data or a message) from a code into the original language or form.
2. to extract meaning from (spoken or written symbols).
When confronted with a scavenger hunt list, the decoding is pretty straight forward. Treasure hunt clues are often written in Morse Code, Braille, Semaphore, Binary, Sign Language, Marine Signal Flags…just to name a few of the most popular “languages”. Your task when playing on scavenger hunts is to “translate” the encrypted data into a comprehensible message (most often in English).
In social interactions, the “decoding” is a little trickier. Everyone has their own internal language, their own syntax and vocabulary. In a sense, everyone is a cipher. And in the case of people, there’s no manual for you to consult, no code book, no dictionary. You either have to make a study of those closest to you (creating your own “book”), OR you need to ask each particular person to explain their meaning…to decode themselves.
So here’s my recommendation:
The next time your spouse, your kid, your co-worker–says something that makes you angry, sad or confused, rather than snapping at them, use the following phrase:
“Can you help me decode what just went on there?”
More often than not, they’ll give you a perfectly reasonable (to them) explanation for their actions. Do this enough times with a person, and you’ll be on your way to “cracking their code”.