I had just finished my first talk in front of a large audience. It was mentally draining, and emotionally taxing. One wonders if what they have to say is important enough to say. I had wanted to do this for awhile. I wanted to bring my unique experiences as a Paramedic to people, and share the lessons that I felt were very important. I worked very hard on the content, and created visual aids to make the presentation more interesting. I had been told that my speaking skills were adequate, and with the genuine intention to express a truth, I was excited to try this. I finished my talk, and the audience just sat there and looked at me. No clapping, no questions…just silence. As it started to become uncomfortable, one by one they began to fill out their evaluations and leave. There was just one woman that walked up to me to hand me the evaluation. “Did you enjoy the talk?” I asked.
“It was fine, but the content was irrelevant.”
I smiled, thanked her, and let the comment soak in. Irrelevant. I eventually realized that it was the worst comment that I could have received. It was stated as a matter of fact, without emotion, and an obvious truth to the person saying it. The result of what I was saying was unimportant. She recognized the truth within the talk, but not one that she cared about, or didn’t care to hear. My effort had no purpose.
After that experience, relevancy was the first question that I worked on answering, within the first sentence of the presentation, and strove to prove that relevancy throughout. If I couldn’t prove the question of relevancy I would abandon the talk. The gift that this woman gave me in perception, was that mine was not the only one. Since that time, I have have taken on projects that I felt were important, and was told that they were a waste of time. I have had a decent self body image, and was told that I had really gained weight. Obviously, my perception on what is relevant is only as relevant as to how it relates to truth.
Irrelevant becomes relevant when it is an obvious truth…a potential.
The saddest thing is when potential isn’t recognized, or even worse, killed. The most exciting thing about potential is that it can surprise you. One might think that the end result of a situation might be an obvious outcome, but the truth can create a completely different paradigm. We work with patients that have dealt with a hearing loss for years. They see it as irrelevant and not a problem. They participate in less conversations, and those conversations become less relevant because it is just too hard to participate. They find more things irrelevant because they can’t join in, and therefore communicate to the world that they find themselves…irrelevant. That is a lie! It is the same lie that the woman told me years before. My talk was relevant. I just failed to communicate the potential to her.
All persons are relevant, and potential. I watch the Audiologists of our Practice sit with people daily, and share with them the possibilities that they thought were out of reach. They convince a person with hearing loss that they can have better days. They passionately communicate how important it is for the patient to participate in the world not only for themselves, but for the people that are important to them. Lack of balance is not okay. Lack of hearing is not okay. Living with ringing in one’s ears is not okay. It is not irrelevant. Irrelevant becomes relevant when one is reminded, and remembers that they matter.