No-one would call me gregarious, outgoing, or perhaps even friendly, but I will have every conversation offered to me. To NOT have that conversation suggests many things, almost all of which are negative; I think the person is dull / stupid / annoying, that I know more than they do, or that I do WANT to know what they know and so on. These things are judgmental, arrogant, and ignorant respectively. Of all things that it’s bad to be, ignorant is to me the worst.
I’m certainly not saying that by having the conversations that I’m suddenly a saint, but as some use faith to stop thinking for themselves, I use conversation to keep some of my more negative tendencies at bay. We all have negative thoughts, we all think bad things, but it’s knowing that we aren’t a bad person because we don’t act on those aberrant thoughts that ensures we remain good citizens.
But all of that is from a personal development perspective, in its somewhat lighter form, conversation can make or break your career development too.
It’s very easy to assume that you make your own way in life, that anything good you have is through your own hard work. Basically you created your life out of a vacuum. This is simply not the case.
Here we are in 2014, and anyone who in has a smartphone has access to information that we can never in a million years (quite literally) read, let alone absorb and retain. We must all categorise what we see every day into one of 3 buckets:
1. Read, absorb, and assimilate for ongoing use.
2. Skim, file away for reference.
95% of what we read is in bucket 3, 3% is in bucket 2, and only 2% is how we each use to make a career for ourselves. It is my belief that even that 2% does not truly give us full benefit until the context means something else to others as well.
You’ve probably heard the sayings; “Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.” and “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” [Aristotle and Einstein respectively], so by definition, nothing you say or think can really make any difference until shared.
Everyone you meet is the perfect sounding board in some fashion, but it requires you to take your own ego completely out of the equation. In the end, I don’t think anyone can ever care as much about someone else’s opinion as they do their own, so surely it makes sense to listen more than talk?
I am in no way saying that you should always forego your own needs / ideas / opinions in favour of everyone else’s, but it’s only really in conversation that we can obtain either the validation we all look for, or something else to think about.
Let’s face it, none of us is perfect, and once you hit your 40’s your opinions on almost everything are pretty much set. If we can, even from time to time, shut the hell up, who knows what we’ll learn.
All that said, talking to me about sports is a great way to get yourself ignored.