October 24, 2023
To say this week’s missive is short is a bit misleading. Instead of a few minutes here, I encourage you to spend a few minutes with David Brooks’ recent piece, “The Essential Skills for Being Human.”
"The real process of…building a friendship or creating a community involves performing a series of small, concrete actions well: being curious about other people; disagreeing without poisoning relationships; revealing vulnerability at an appropriate pace; being a good listener; knowing how to ask for and offer forgiveness; knowing how to host a gathering where everyone feels embraced; knowing how to see things from another’s point of view."
Implied in Brooks’ essay is the importance of conversations. Talk to the person next to you in line. Compliment someone’s shoes. Ask someone how they are, and mean it. You can’t learn from a conversation you’re not in, and you cannot create human connections from a distance.
Like Brooks, I’m not always good at this. His note that “I enter into a conversation vowing to be other-centered, then I have a glass of wine, and I start blabbing funny stories I know. My ego takes the wheel in ways I regret afterward...” hit a little close to home. But, like Brooks, I’m working on it.
Try to really see and really listen. Create a connection. Have the conversation.