Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh ya, well I walked on the moon!

Welcome to another edition of, "Life Lessons 101 with Casey". I'm glad you came back for round two.That is, of course, assuming you already came for round one. Or maybe you just happened to stumble across this post not knowing what you got yourself into. Whatever the case may be, I hope you continue reading, my friend :)

1. Don't always be the smartypants

Everyone of us is gifted in some way. We all are good at something or another. And we are all talented in different areas. If every person on the globe was good at the same things, what a boring world this would surely be!

But on the flipside, we have to be careful that we aren't always acting like we "know-it-all" in our conversations with others. Even if you really do know it all, which would be totally awesome (wish I knew it all!), it still would be rude to drone on and on about it.

A conversation is called a conversation, not a one-way station (I just made that up, pretty nifty I'd say!) Meaning, a conversation takes at least two people to carry it on, not just one. When one person is constantly talking about what they know about this and that, not only is it rude, but it bores others. It can also be annoying. When you always tell other people how to do stuff, it can really be a "turn-off" in your friendship. Nobody wants to be told what to do all the time. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people doing this in group settings, and I just cringe knowing that everyone is more than annoyed at the smartypants.

A conversation doesn't mean you just talk about what you are good at or what you know. A conversation involves questions, discussion, and fellowship. It's certainly alright to talk about things you are good at, of course, but be careful that isn't the only thing you talk about.

2. You don't always have to have the best story

Danny and I watched this hilarious comedian one time. He talked about how in every group setting, someone always wants to "one-up" the next best story. You know, like, "Oh yaa? Well wait till I tell you about what happened to me!" The comedian explained how he wondered what it was like for the first man to walk on the moon after he came back from outer space and lived life. Imagine he was at a dinner party standing with a group of well-mannered adults. One man tells a story about how he did such and such amazing thing last week, while another lady tells about how she saw such and such extraordinary thing another time, etc... etc... The comedian exclaimed, "No matter what anyone else had to say that was uniquely interesting, this man could always calmly state, "Oh ya? Well... I walked on the MOON!"

Danny and I had ourselves a good laugh after hearing this. It's so true though. There always seems to be someone who has to share another story to top the previous one. (To this day, if we are in a group and this happens, we will quietly whisper to each other and chuckle, "Oh ya, well I walked on the moon!")

Even if I have many stories up my sleeve, sometimes I think it's polite to laugh, smile, and listen to the amazing stories other people have to share instead of immediately following up with something I've seen or done. Instead of waiting until their punch line so you can begin your next story to piggy back off that, why not ask more questions giving the speaker a chance to elaborate on their story? People appreciate it when you look them in the eye and truly care about what they are saying. It's one thing to act like you are listening, and it's another to really listen. I always say the sign of a good listener is when they can engage the person talking to them with further questions and comments about what they are already talking about.

Take these two scenarios for example:

Sally: "Hey Fred! I haven't seen you in a few weeks. How are you?"
Fred: "Oh, I'm doing pretty bad actually. I haven't been feeling well."
Sally: "Really? Me too! I had this horrible cough all week. Couldn't sleep at night. My sister is sick too...."


Sally: "Hey Fred! I haven't seen you in a few weeks. How are you?"
Fred: "Oh, I'm doing pretty bad actually. I haven't been feeling well."
Sally: "Really? That's too bad. Are you taking any medicine? Have you been stuck at home all week? I could bring a meal for you if you'd like."

Do you notice the difference in Sally between the two different converstations? They are slightly similar, but if you look closely one exemplifies a more mature listening skill. A good listener can turn any conversation into a opportunity to learn more about others. A good listener is quick on their toes to draw more out of the person just by asking simple questions.

When a good lister does their job, the other person walks away feeling special, important, cared about, encouraged. Don't you want the people in your life to walk away feeling this way about you? It's not about being liked, and it's not even about pleasing people. It's about taking Philippians 2:3 to heart which says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

Well, I hope these life lessons come in handy for you right in time for the holiday festivities! Maybe you will be off to work parties, family reunions, and get-togethers with good friends. Whatever the occasion, why not take the time to purposefully pursue the people in your lives with questions and encouragement? Instead of breaking the silence with thoughts on what you know or how you feel, why not ask them about their lives and stories? And like I said in my previous Life Lessons post, most people will generally ask you about yourself in return after you've kindly listened to them first.

Well this concludes the second edition of Life Lessons 101 with Casey. Join us again next time, folks! Until then, pull up a chair, grab a cup of whatever you like, and get to know the ones you love!

1 comment:

  1. Haha..good one! Another thing I try to do when I am in a conversation is ask the person questions about themselves. Sometimes someone just needs a listening ear and it's good practice for me to just shut my mouth and listen. I know, I sometimes wish people did that for me.