My oldest daughter, Michaela, and I are very close and have some wonderful conversations. We talk about real life stuff; you know? Stuff that matters, not just topical stuff like our favorite shows on television.
If there’s one thing I can say about Michaela, it’s that she is an incredible listener. As the saying goes “God built us with two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” I think that Michaela has mastered this because, whenever I’m with her, I’m totally amazed at how she is able to absorb my every word.
In fact, she is so good at listening that I’ve started to model this same behavior. I strive to listen well when I’m speaking with family, friends, colleagues, and clients. In this way, what I’ve learned from her can help me become a better dad, husband, and professional.
I love that I learn such valuable traits from my daughter. In reality, each one of us can learn something from everyone we interact with. Whether it’s our children, our friends, or someone we met in line at the grocery store, there are many lessons floating around in this world that can help us become better people. We just have to be open to them.
Look at all of the stories that are floating around on social media. The ones about two strangers who had a chance meeting and at least one of them realized a life-changing lesson as a result. Imagine how many more of these there’d be if more of us were willing to look around, to listen to others who are younger, older, different races, different sexes, just plain different than us, solely because we believe that everyone has something to offer.
Make it a goal to have at least one interaction with a complete stranger every time you go out in public. And not just a “Nice weather today, huh?” interaction, but a “Wow! I really like your hat. Do you have a lot of hats?” type of interaction. An interaction that actually starts a conversation.
Certainly, not every conversation will stick with you or teach you a lesson that you’ll never forget. However, think of all of the people you’ll meet. Plus, just because your life may not have changed forever in those 30 seconds of conversation, it doesn’t mean that you won’t change theirs.
Maybe someone was feeling down and the fact that you noticed them was enough to make them smile. Or perhaps you’ll talk about something near and dear to their heart, restoring their faith in humanity, and their knowledge that there are still good people in this world.
We can learn something from anyone. The only question is: what can you do to learn as much from as many people as you can? Who knows where each interaction may lead?