Meaningful conversation is one of the most invigorating experiences I have. Making a connection, establishing rapport, and exchanging information is not just fun and interesting for me - it also serves a useful purpose. It gives me the opportunity to learn about myself. Learning through teaching as I like to call it.
The people I talk to consider me a teacher, a coach, someone who offers them perspective. But the reality is I probably learn more from them than the other way around. I can usually identify a lot of myself in the stories they tell and the experiences they share. The "whos" "whys" and "whats" of my own life come into focus and I find deeper understanding. Conversation nurtures me and I grow.
When you listen, you're open and you're not afraid to be wrong, one of the things that happens is you end up challenging your own beliefs and assumptions about things. Maybe you know yourself pretty well and you know who you are, but if you're smart, you also recognize you can know a lot more.
If it is true that self knowledge is the beginning of wisdom -- Then insight is the beginning of self knowledge. For me, the more I know, the better I will be. The better I will be the the more I can do, and the further I will go.
Want to understand how the economy works? Start by looking at it through the prism of incentives.
Incentives are feedback mechanisms that provide information to someone. They create reasons to do things - they shape how and why choices are made.
Higher prices incentivize more production. Lower tariffs establish incentives for more trade -- and so the theory goes.
Have you ever considered that your communication - the way you choose to talk (words + tone + body language) listen, respond, react - creates powerful incentives? It's absolutely so.
The way you choose to communicate with anyone will dictate how they feel about you. The way you make them feel will determine your level connection, and the things they want to share with you - or not.
I get it all the time - James, how can I get through to someone better? how can I get someone to open up and want to share with me? How do I connect with someone on a more meaningful level?
The answer is simple. Create better incentives with your communication. Ask more questions - listen better - be open -- make the person feel good about sharing, talking, being real. Once you create these positive feelings in people, they will associate them with you.
Think about anyone in your life and the relationship you have - positive or negative. Your perception, the way you feel about them is primarily a function of how well you are able to communicate.
Just as an economy grows and thrives with the proper incentives - so too will your communication. The outcome is better, stronger happier, closer, more meaningful relationships.
Grow strong. Be well. - James
The title of this post was a statement made by the late Steve Jobs. Inherent in its meaning is that, in life - belief is a requirement, things often make sense only in retrospect.
It's human nature to experience frustration when we come up short on something we spend precious resources pursuing. We work so hard and when things don't happen for us the way it "should" the temptation to give up is alluring.
Experience has taught me that instead of giving up, it is far more prudent to give in to the setback and let it guide you beyond your original purpose.
Whether it's a relationship, or a business venture, or a class project. Don't be ruled by the perception of a setback. Own it, Learn from it, grow from it, become better because of it -- let it lead you to do more -- to be more.
Ultimately, persistence is rewarded and success happens because those earlier setbacks paved the way.
Operating from this perspective is fundamental to reaching your potential. This is the winning mindset, the mindset of a Steve Jobs and every other great achiever. So keep going ... and eventually the dots will connect. You'll see.
One of my favorite aspects of this job is having the opportunity to speak with young people on their quest to figure out life. By young, i'm talking 13-19 years old - typically the most challenging age group for people to understand and connect with, including for the kids themselves.
The reason I love dealing with this group so much is two-fold. First, I appreciate how incredibly difficult and overwhelming this time of life is - and that's on the best day. This age represents that gray space between adolescence and adulthood, when transition and change is constant. Either the young person is changing or their environment is changing, and often those are changing simultaneously. All that change represents tremendous opportunity -- or risk, depending on the kid.
My second reason for relishing the experience of working with kids segues from the first. I know how hard their lives are -- but I love being able to connect with them and help them. The positive energy associated with having a young person drop their veneer and become vulnerable -- open up and respond in a sincere and positive way --- is awesome.
Parents become frustrated when they experience the communication dead end with their teenagers. They tell me they've tried everything and it's hopeless -- but it's not hopeless. Parents must accept the reality that a lot of times they will be the last person their kids want to talk to. I don't care how much you reassure your kids that it's ok to be honest, you understand, etc -- many/most will find an alternative outlet away from their parents to divulge their true feelings to.
So what's it going to be? Are you going to continue banging your head against the wall? Or, are you going to reserve some time for them talk to me? Let me get them thinking. You will see an increase in self-awareness, self-worth and positive attitude changes. You have only headaches to lose and strong communication to gain.
Before you call me a hypocrite, I am no expert (see my last blog post), however, if there was one subject I feel like I was nearly an expert on -- like I was sort of expert"ish." It would be in the area of identifying manipulative people... more specifically - if your romantic partner is a manipulator.
Here are some behavioral characteristics of manipulative people that might give you pause.
3.) Emotionally Abusive
The person you fell in love with? That's not really them. That person was a product of their imagination used to lure you in. Oh sure they can go back to that "person" when they need something from you or when it serves their interests, but the sweet, loving, kind, caring person was just a clever ruse. Now you're at their mercy. They will make you feel awful most of the time because they feel awful. You will have a front seat ride on their roller coaster. Getting off the ride can feel impossible -- they have you trapped -- and they know it.
Still not sure if your lovebug is a manipulator, or maybe you need help escaping from your manipulator -- i'm still no expert - but I do know I can help.