If I ever want to learn something new, empathize or otherwise understand something that I haven't experienced first hand, the surest way is to listen more and talk less. I ask questions, I do not judge and I open my mind and heart to things that are often different from what I know. I listen to the stories, the history and the context to gain an understanding and to walk in someone else's shoes. Listening more and talking less is also a great approach for new situations, conferences, jobs or any social gatherings. I don't want to be the person constantly talking about themselves. If I am curious and interested in other people and their unique perspectives and experiences, I find myself learning and growing so much. It's my ticket to kindness and understanding.
In my own life, I have heard this a few times when someone that I know is struggling with a problem or situation and rather than just listening, I try to think of ways that they can solve their problems. Usually these people just needed me to listen. Problem solving an emotional situation often ignores how that person is feeling and the result is that they feel judged. I try to hold my tongue, step back and let them lead. This has also been a good strategy for me recently while I've been learning about the business of blogging and putting myself into huge social situations. It doesn't mean that I am a quiet mouse in the corner, but it does mean that my focus has been on learning and observing, rather than leading, directing and judging. Eventually, once I learn the ropes, I can transition into a leadership role confidently.
Do you have examples of when you have needed to listen more and talk less?
Today's hand lettering is drawn from an 1816 sample of William Caslon IV's "Egyptian", which was the first sans-serif typeface for printing and was only available in all caps. Hand lettering had been done in sans-serif for a while, but this was the first metal typeface that you could print with. It was not very popular and sans-serif did not begin appearing for a number of years. You can now purchase a newly drawn version of the Caslon's Egyptian typeface from Font Bureau. Here's a fascinating discussion about digitizing the font and it's history on Typophile.
The photograph is of a white lily that my husband bought me for Valentine's Day. I chose it because it is "open" and the stamens look like they are flowing into the flower. I thought it was a good metaphor for an ear that is listening. Camera Equipment: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm Compact Macro lens. Camera Settings: 1/125 sec at f/2.5, ISO 1250.