NASA recently released videos of the Perseverance landing on Mars. It’s quite incredible to watch. One of the scientists involved has been quoted saying, ‘I’ve watched the landing over a hundred times now and each time I see something different.’
That’s not surprising is it? When we read a good book or article again, we ‘see’ new things in it. When we re-listen to a podcast or radio interview, we hear new things. We learn things we didn’t on the first reading or first listen.
This says something about the richness of the book, the podcast, the interview. But it also says something about us. Sometimes it is about what we are learning through the book or podcast. And when we get to the end, we understand more clearly so we can re-read to glean more insight about our freshly learned idea. Other times, we read the book or listen to the podcast, learn from it and then put it on the shelf for a while. Perhaps a few years pass and life happens. And then we pick it up again. But we have changed in time between readings and so what we ‘see’ or ‘hear’ in the book or podcast is different because we are different.
None of this is a surprise to most of us. It seems fairly obvious when stated. Our context, frame of mind, life experience shapes and impacts how we interact with books, podcasts, and other stimuli. And yes, the same applies to conversations with colleagues, family members, peers, and so on.
And yet, we often forget this to be true of others interacting with our own work. However, our audience (whomever that may be) also lives in an ever-changing context which shapes how they interact with us and our work. And just like sometimes we learn new things or see new insights each time we re-read that book, so, too, our audience may take more than one ‘read’ or engagement with us to understand what we are saying or why we want that change.
Perhaps needing to repeat something isn’t a bad thing.