Nate Dickson Thinks...


I love this quote:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? -Rumi

And these three gates provide a lot of guidance. I've thought about these gates a lot. I think they provide solid guidance for almost any form of communication, other than just shooting the breeze or making up stories together.

Lately I've found two more gates that are useful for times where I feel like I might want to offer someone advice. One of these is based on a quote I saw on Twitter back in the day:

Advice unasked-for is criticism. Period.


1994: I'm in a high school English class, and we're doing a little mock debate thing where we discuss...something. It's been thirty years and I don't really remember the topic at hand. But in my zeal to make my point about...whatever it was, I told one of my classmates “no, shut up...” and talked over her.

2008: I'm having a bad day. I'm at work and a friend of mine tells me that he just tried something new technologically. Since I'm having a bad day I vehemently explain why I think what he tried was a bad idea.

There are a few similarities between these two events.

  1. I acted badly in both of them.
  2. I insisted on my point of view being acknowledged as “right”,
  3. Whenever I thought about either of these events I felt terrible. For years.