All for Others
April 23, 2012
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Recently, I met a man recently who came across as friendly and giving, and talked about helping others out. But as I observed him and tried to engage hi, he only wanted to talk about his ideas. And if you told him one of your own ideas, even if he liked it, he would talk about it like he valued because it was his idea only. This made me very self-aware of a personal flaw.
Many times in my life, when I had the opportunity to socialize with others, I would take the time to just unload on them. As a person who lived alone, I saw only the opportunity to talk about what I wanted to, not realizing that by doing so, I was missing opportunities to listen to others and learn about their interest, not to mention the general premise that a relationships is a two way street. Nobody wants to talk to someone who never asks them about them.
It has lead me to this observation of human nature: we are all very much into ourselves. We have our interests and our circle of friends, and we don’t see much outside of it. Our culture prides itself on specialization, and we can go online and find hundreds of people who share our interests (OK, guilty), instead of taking the time to make an impact on those immediately around us. But sometimes, it can just be one moment that can show another a courtesy in what the other does. This happened to me once when I was at a conference with my father. One of our distributors came up to us, and he mostly needed to talk to my dad. But before he did, he took a minute to ask me about what I did for the company, and I told him about my work with samples. It wasn’t much but I was much more interested in what he had to say after he’d paid me some attention.
To that end, I have come to a personal resolution: celebrate others. Listen to them and let them talk about the things that are important to them. Praise them and tell them how amazing their accomplishments are. If I even make one person feel better about themselves in this way, it would have been worth it.