The Rule of 36

There was a time in my life when my deeply held beliefs and my passions were misread as anger or being “cranky.”
That time was yesterday.
In my continuing efforts to communicate ever-more clearly with the rest of the world, I have had to deal with how I am seen by that world. And sometimes, despite my best efforts, people choose to focus on the expression of my message rather than the message itself. When this happens, no matter who the other people are, the failure is on me.
A writer, or to be completely honest, any human being, must know his or her audience every time a message is delivered. Romance readers often don’t embrace hard-boiled mysteries. History buffs are less likely to give a sci-fi story a chance. The same is true for interpersonal communication.
So here is my advice, which I try to follow, and which I recommit to every so often, especially after confirming that someone I communicated with did not receive the message I intended.
I suggest the rule of 36,
If possible, wait 36 hours before taking action you are passionate about. Use this time to remove yourself from the situation and review who your intended audience is and how best to reach them.
If you don’t have that kind of time, try 36 minutes. Same intention, same focus.
Need a quick decision? Bare minimum, take 36 seconds to ask the following: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said now? Does this need to be said by me? (Thanks, Craig Ferguson.)
Then ask, what is the best way to get this person to see, understand, and embrace my message? The trick is to calm one’s emotions, and answer with extreme honesty and a focus on the recipient’s needs. What will that person respond to in a positive way? A challenge at times, but I promise the effort is worth it.
Christopher Ryan is author of City of Woe, available on Kindle and Nook, and in print. For more info, click here.

About chrisryanwrites

My name is Christopher Ryan. I am a former award-winning journalist turned high school teacher, and I have written since reading S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS when I was in elementary school. I have independently published an award-winning debut novel, CITY OF WOE, plus the prequel short story collection CITY OF SIN, the sequel novel CITY OF PAIN, a high school thriller novel GENIUS HIGH, and several high adventure novelettes for the Rapid Reads series featuring Alex Simmons' African-American adventurer BLACKJACK All are available via amazon.com, as is my children's book, THE FERGUSON FILES - THE MYSTERY SPOT. Additionally, I was nominated for a supporting actor award for my work in the multiple award-winning independent film, CLANDESTINE, from Feenix Films. I blog about writing, life, pop culture, the journey of learning to promote my independently published work, my efforts to secure a traditional publishing contract, and my career as a teacher.
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