Feb 18, 2011

I think it all starts with NOT considering yourself the most fascinating and intelligent person you know.

This may seem like a gigantic leap backwards, self esteem wise. But ideally your self esteem is not contingent on being top of the pile, head of the pack. That, of course, is a whole other can of worms I am happy to address later in the inevitable "other reasons you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake: a guide to responsible parenting" post.
But I digress.

What I am talking about is the ability to effectively, genuinely listen. What I am talking about is what happens in a conversation, what happens at a bar, what happens in the boardroom.

And maybe I am coming crazy out of left field here, because I may run with a particularly dorky and self important crowd. But I have noticed that a whole lot of people I like seem to possess a quality I particularly dislike: the desire to see themselves as superstars, bright and brilliant orbs in a dull and empty universe. They fancy themselves the experts, the intellects, the creative sprites, frustrated with others short comings, annoyed by others banal progressions.

And an ongoing side effect, of this, seems to be a tendency to fight, to squabble, to love and lose, to annoy and frustrate.

Which is not to say you shouldn't have a little faith in your own expertise, in your own abilities. If you notice someone explaining something wrong, pulling rank, showing the wrong way at the wrong time a key to happiness is quietly HELPING everyone understand your knowledge.

But the key is not helping everyone loudly understand your own expertise.

Am I making any sense here?

I'll try again.

I really wish a lot of people would shut the fuck up and try to figure out what they don't know, instead of assuming they know it. I really wish a lot of people would enter a conversation with the possibility that they are the one who will learn something, they are not the one who will solve their problem. I really wish most people wouldn't consider everything from how to change a lightbulb to how solve world peace fodder only the geniuses have right to. I really wish people would understand that as much as I can perform certain complex functions with surprising ease, I have a hard time following the simplest dance lesson or understanding the technical specs on your average manual, and imagine most people have the same range of understanding. I really wish other people would imagine that though they might be a great and shining star in certain zip codes of their own universe, that the rest of the planets are also littered with both sparkly and dull sheened rocks each possessing their own value.

These are my wishes. And they are broader and less concrete than stop please texting when we are out to dinner or take your damn backpack off on a crowded bus.

But they hail from the same location: the part of me that imagines a world with more consideration and respect.

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