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Over my long life, I can't count the number of times I've been in a conference or a meeting or a discussion where a problem is raised and the solution--to me--is instantaneously obvious.

But not so to the other participants.

I have learned, finally, after many uncomfortable experiences, not to blurt out the solution, the resolution. I can see intuitively where the conversation or logic is going, but others have to take it one step at a time, trying out all the dead end possibilities, before finally plodding their weary way--hours later--to the same end result I saw at the outset.

In my younger years I felt scorn for those who would push aside what was clearly the final, best outcome and, riding roughshod over my proposal, come tortuously (to my mind) to the same conclusion many long hours or days later, giving the credit for the resolution to the loudest voice at the table. I thought they were ponderously slow and unnecessarily oblivious to the obvious.

I did not understand that most people are frightened by quickness of thought and by intuition and by intelligence.

I've learned through trial and error (many times) that most people need to do the processing, that the logic does not come easily to them, and it is a process of reassurance to them to trip over every logical rock and stumble across every inconvenient root and gain support and group sympathy in the process.

Then--at long last--they congratulate themselves on reaching the best solution, one that has the stamp of communal sweat and tears on it. The meeting notes are smudged and wrinkled with many notes and drawings. And at last they march into the place where I had set up camp right at the beginning, without noticing that I had been there all along.

Took me a long time to understand that, for most people, this is a necessary kind of decision-making process. I'm still learning to be patient, supportive, and kind.

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