Stop and Notice

The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been clear, sunny and cool for the last few days and, according to the long-range forecast, shows no signs of changing, at least within the next 7 days.  And that’s fine with me!

What I love about this type of weather in the late fall and early winter are the beautiful scenes it makes possible, like:

  • The brilliant orange, yellow, and blue colors of a sunrise
  • The clear view of mountains in the Cascade Range
  • The late afternoon sunlight shining off the bodies of low-flying Canadian geese

What’s interesting to me is that as beautiful as these scenes are, they can easily be missed, unless we stop and notice them.  There are so many things that occupy our minds and compete for our attention that, unless we make an effort to be aware of the beautiful things going on around us, we can easily miss them; and that would be a shame.

Let’s commit to actively looking for the beautiful things occurring around us.  Whether it’s a beautiful natural scene or an act of kindness, let’s be sure not to miss them.

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You Can Tell A Lot From A Little

Consider the following sentence:

“After work, he bought his wife some roses.”

By reading these 8 simple words, we very quickly learn quite a bit of information about this person.  For example, we know this person:

  • Is a male
  • Is married
  • Has some disposable income to buy flowers
  • Is thinking of his wife
  • Has a job

In addition to these details, our sentence also generates a number of questions for us, such as:

  • Why is he buying flowers for his wife?
  • How long have he and his wife been married?
  • Where does he work?
  • What does he do at his job?
  • How old are these 2 people?
  • Does he buy his wife flowers often?
  • Will his wife appreciate the flowers?

In just 8 simple words we now know a decent amount about this person and have several questions to ask that would help us learn even more about him and his wife.

So what, right?  I mean, that’s nice and all, but what does that have to do with anything, and who really cares?  Consider this…

Every day we exchange numerous sentences with other people through digital forms like text, email, social media, as well as through old-fashioned verbal communication.  Therefore, every day we receive a great deal of information about the people we interact with.  If you want to become better at connecting with people, or become a better listener, this information provides a great starting point to do so.

Begin paying attention to what people are saying.  Listen for the facts, but also keep your radar up for the questions you can ask that will help take the conversation deeper.  And when you have a question, ask it.  These are the initial steps in connecting with others.

I’m not saying you have to do this with every conversation you have, but if you’re looking to make a connection or build a relationship with someone, this is a great way to start.