Getting back to one of my loves, writing. I can’t believe it has been months, but life pulls us in different directions at times and a healthy break results in a lot of new ideas.
“ In life we must focus on the goal and work towards that. If we constantly stop to validate ourselves, compare our efforts or martyr ourselves, we have lost sight of the goal. Instead we become like most others; too self-absorbed and our goal drops in the priority scale. Most who have succeeded in many aspects of life, kept the focus on the goal and less focus on their individual contributions..”
Over a glass of wine with a friend, under the warm blanket of the Florida night sky, conversations in my backyard begun to take a different tone. Outside of the normal pleasantries and griping about our days and how aging and tired we are getting, we started to reflect on our lives. How did we end up where we are? What are some of the things we like or not like. I used to, in my younger days, thought the world was perfect. Everyone was honest. People helped each other. Everyone means what they say and a person’s word is as good as gold. No hidden agendas. As I became older, at least in my early 40s, I realized I may be slightly off on some, if not all, of those closely held beliefs. The absolutes in my head were ‘everyone’, ‘all’, ‘everybody’, ‘all of us’, etc. are starting to be replaced with more timid pronouns such as ‘some’, ‘a few’, ‘ a handful’, etc. I was told a while ago that the first time you meet a person it is not the true self of that person. Some facet of that person’s facade is masked to protect or prove something. I look at myself as this light hearted conversation forced me to look inwardly at myself. Am I a person trying to hide something? Feelings probably, but not my traits. Is there something I don’t want someone to know? Probably not, I am pretty open. I don’t have time to keep track of what I said or did not say. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I expect this from others and that was my disappointment and awakening that I need to pay more attention to what I hear and what someone means. I cannot interpret what I hear based on my merits. It has to be interpreted based on their merits. I have a difficult time analyzing what someone means. I take their word at face value and sometimes it is not what they say, but how they say something. I see my world as black and white most of the times, but I also know there are shades of grey in between.
May not be 50 shades of grey (there are however 50 shades here), but some shades of grey. I just have to look closer. Circumstances around the person’s life or how a person is feeling may impact for they communicate. For example, when I ask someone, ‘ ..how are you doing?..’ and the reply is ‘..fine..’, I am assuming they are fine. I could be wrong so I have to pay attention to their tone, body language, demeanor, etc. This conversation pushed me to think about people’s goals, objectives, stands, rewards, recognition and a whole array of things. As I complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and completing my second book, this conversation helped me a lot in knowing how to communicate better. I listen more and try every day to talk 30% and listen 70% of the time. Not talking and listening is also communication. If I talk too much, I am not hearing the other person. Being introverted, external and social stands have never been my forte. Over the years I have learned to adapt well while keep true to my introverted self in an extraverted world.
An analogy that was used to help me:
Imagine a horse race. The horses have blinders on. Their only goal is to reach the finish line as fast as possible. They do not care about the horse aside, in front or behind them. Their goal is to get there first. They get there and do not compare themselves with the other horses, but instead they reached the goal/marker and they move on…in preparation for the next race and the next milestone marker.
This silly example helped me to see things I can do to improve myself more. Things I can do to communicate better. In the end of this conversation way after midnight, I walked away with a few things. Most of all I walked off with a statement that motivated me to continue on my mission to achieve my personal goals as I set them. That is the opening statement of this post. I will reiterate it once again: “ In life we must focus on the goal and work towards that. If we constantly stop to validate ourselves, compare our efforts or martyr ourselves, we have lost sight of the goal. Instead we become like most others; too self-absorbed and our goal drops in the priority scale. Most who have succeeded in many aspects of life, kept the focus on the goal and less focus on their individual contributions..”
One never knows what the calmness of the night, a glass of wine and the fresh air will lead to. This night it was this and I was not disappointed.