If you are not single, chances are you missed the valuable lesson OkCupid has to teach everyone. OkCupid is one of the numerous popular dating sites on the Internet, and it does something the other dating sites do not. Trust me, I know. I have been on them all.
OkCupid has thousands of questions their members can answer. They fall into 6 categories – ethics, sex, religion, dating, lifestyle and other. The more questions you answer, the better your suggested matches will be.
Why is this important and how does it apply to you . . . even if you are not single?
These questions paint the context around each person. Of course, like every other dating site you can see a person’s photos, read their profile and see their basic stats; but that is just a shell. To get a true understanding of the person – how they think, what they believe and your potential compatibility – you have to look at their answers to the questions. Their responses connect the dots and fill in the shell created by their photos, stats and profile.
To fully understand someone, or a situation for that matter, understanding context is vital. Context is the little details that form the world around us; like the atoms that comprise every object or the threads that are woven together to make our clothes. By themselves they seem insignificant and nondescript, but when taken together and seen in the big picture, they form our world.
Sadly, today’s society is not built for context. 140 character tweets, short emails, even shorter texts, Facebook updates, etc. None of these “drive-by” communications is sufficient enough to create context. As a result, misunderstandings, miscommunication, bad decision making and unnecessary drama is on the rise.
And therein lies the challenge.
Understanding context takes time and patience. Whether it is a few extra minutes to ask a few more questions or a few extra days to deeply understand, either way, you have to give time and must have patience to allow context to emerge. And in today’s ridiculously fast-paced society, that is a luxury few people are willing to afford. We would rather take the short-cut or simply skip some steps in order to get to the end.
The thing is, context is like the water in a fish bowl. It surrounds and pervades the fish’s life, yet, it goes undetected by the fish because it is everywhere. Kinda like air for us humans. We don’t think about it very much or notice it. We just exist within it. Yet, without it, we would die.
Without taking the time to distinguish and understand the context of a situation, you may not die, but I promise you, in some way your experience will be more painful.
Context is the key – from that comes the understanding of everything.
– Kenneth Noland
One of the best ways to improve your life and relationships, and eliminate misunderstandings, miscommunications and bad decisions, is to take the time to understand context. Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said it best – seek first to understand, then be understood.
This small action will dramatically change most relationships in your life, whether they are personal or business. The simple trick to achieving this change is to listen more, talk less, and take the time to ask more questions.
Read how this applies to your business here.
And for those singles out there, if you want some dating tips and help from one of the world’s most famous villains, be sure to check out this fun video!
(To see a great demonstration of context, click here!)