This year for In-Depth, there is a little twist on the normal project: to incorporate Edward de Bono’s tips from his book, “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” into the conversations and meetings with our mentor. The challenge for last week was to review the section for “how to agree”, “how to disagree” and “how to differ”. However, both my partner and I received an extension since we weren’t going to be meeting with our mentor until a week after, and so it made more sense to complete the post after conversing with our mentor during the session. Therefore, in this post I will be combining both last week and this week’s challenge which involved the topics “how to be interesting” and “how to respond”.

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I agreed with practically everything that my mentor had told me, not only because she is much more experienced than I am, but also since what she was saying was logical and made sense. I was happy to find that she was mentioning a lot about the knowledge that I had already previously had. For instance, we had gotten into a conversation on how often we should wash our hair, and Sarah had explained that it is healthy to wash it every second day so we won’t wash away the natural oils. I was pleased to say that I had heard about that before, and also about when she said that washing oily hair extra times causes it to become even oilier since the body has a need to restore the natural oil that is being stripped away. Another time that we had agreed was when she had brought up a quote: “You are what you eat”, meaning your outside shows how well you have taken care of your inside. She had mentioned that her teacher had talked about how, rather than using avocados as masks on your hair, you should eat them and let the nutrients travel into the roots of your hair. Overall, my mentor and I tended to agree with the majority of things.

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When it came to disagreeing, I think a lot of my classmates had found a similar result and came to the same conclusion as I did. Since we are just beginning the journey into learning our topics, we did not find much to disagree about with our mentors since they have way more experience than we do in the fields that we are learning. In my case, Sarah was very knowledgeable about hairdressing (especially since she is in the process of taking a course), so I found myself agreeing with majority of what she was saying. Although I agreed with everything she suggested during my first lesson, I believe that once we get further into the topic and I gain more experience and knowledge, I will have more ways in which I can politely disagree and add different suggestions to make a more engaging conversation.

For the idea of differing with my mentor, I happened to notice a small way in which we had different opinions. I remember Sarah had been teaching my partner and me about hair anatomy, and she had mentioned that not everyone’s hair has medulla, the innermost layer of a strand of hair. She explained that there are many different hair types, and that depending on the thickness, only certain types would have medulla. I had then asked something along the lines of, “so thick hair is more likely to have medulla than thin hair?”

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And she had confirmed my thought, but added that she had been taught in hairdressing class to refer to the word “thin” as fine. Later on, another instance arose when I had mentioned that my hair was quite damaged, and she had mentioned that her teacher had also taught her not to use the word “damaged”, and to swap it with the word “sensitized” instead. Upon rethinking our conversations and trying to find ways in which we may have had different opinions, I realized that our word choice was the only thing I could think of. However, after hearing that she chose not to use these words since they could offend the customer, I realized that her opinion made plenty of sense and I decided to try and improve my choice of words as well. Although it was not a huge way in which we had differed, it was the only thing I can think of.

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Moving on to “how to be interesting” and “how to respond,” my mentor is a fun person to talk to. Whenever she isn’t teaching my partner and me a new skill, we are all just having general conversations about things we like. For example, my partner had asked her about her favourite era for hairstyles, and we all ended up looking at pictures Sarah had taken on her phone of different hairstyles she had created. Both Sarah and I were fond of the high-low bob, and we both continued to share our opinions on the rest of the hairstyles. It was nice to talk about something we both were passionate about: hairstyles.  Together, the three of us exchanged opinions and I feel like we all enjoyed the conversations we had.

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To create a wider discussion, I would respond with things such as, “what is your opinion about…?” By asking this fishing question, I was able to open up a topic to discuss, as well as hear her opinions and make connections to what she was saying. At the same time, while asking questions I was interested in, I not only got a chance to connect with her, but I got answers to the questions I had pondered about for quite a while. For instance, I had asked her about whether straightening your hair every week or getting a perm would be more damaging, and to my surprise, she had said that perming would be worse. I had always thought the other way around, and  I commented that, ‘that was interesting’ and asked her to further explain the reason. By asking that question, I had found out the answer and also started a new conversation about the topic of getting perms.

Both responding with fishing questions and being interesting go hand in hand since one triggers the other. When you respond with a fishing question, the mentor must answer with a longer response, and that response can lead to either more interesting questions or a further discussion on that topic.  By using these tips from “How to Have a Beautiful Mind,” my mentor and I were able to have a great experience during our first lesson. Both my partner and I are planning another lesson with our mentor, so hopefully we’ll learn more tips and be able to apply them soon. I’m looking forward to the next session!