During a training when I was in direct sales, the speaker said we grow in direct proportion by the people we meet and the books we read. I certainly agree with this statement. Both offer us contrasting experiences to learn and discover new information and/or way of thinking to integrate into our lives. I love talking to people and hearing about their life paths.
I’ve been criticized a time or two of being too inquisitive. Even donning the nickname “Twenty questions” a time or two. It’s amazing most people love to talk about themselves and magically open up to me for no apparent reason and tell me about their spiritual/life experiences. Lately my favorite pastime has been frequenting different restaurants and sitting at the bar. Ironically each time I do this I end up in a very interesting and intriguing conversation with strangers.
Not only that I’m making a game of it wherever I go if I’m near someone more than a few seconds, I strike up a conversation with them. It is so interesting to hear about the different experiences and perspectives of others and how they are progressing on their journey called life. I have also been consciously practicing what Dr. Schwartz calls “conversation generosity”. That is I encourage the other person to talk about themselves, their views, their accomplishments, their family, their job, their problems.
I’ve been practicing it in all my encounters but especially during my timely encounters with strangers. Ironically, the more I let the other fellow talk about themselves, the more they seem to like me for it. It’s easy, simple, and has been a proven surefire way to win friends. And, for those that I know well or communicate with on a regular basis, the more I practice this with them, the more I learn about them, their strong and weak points, their motivations and desires.
I personally enjoy collecting all this information to sort and sift through to find nuggets to add to my life’s treasure. Most importantly, listening pays off tremendously towards winning friends and influencing people. This week along I learned how a woman made the best of a situation when her attorney husband divorced her for another woman and dragged her through the courts for years because he was being spiteful towards her. But, she decided to rise above.
I learned how a couple built a loving marriage of 50 years and how they keep the home fires burning. I have amassed numerous tips on health, fitness, and diet. Career tips. Investment tips. How people are and have pursued their passions. And, I’ve also met some sour pusses and reminded of how we sabotage our lives when dwell on the negatives of situations and people.
I immensely enjoy my timely encounters and listening helps me to connect with others and reminds me how much we are more alike than different. It reminds me we are one and helps me to keep my heart open and practice love and acceptance for my fellow man. When we are practicing believing it UNTIL we see it, we never know if that one timely encounter provides us with a critical answer, opportunity, or path. If you are not already doing so, I invite you to seek out timely encounters and watch how you grow.