MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “discussion”

Talk to listen

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Humans have a strange characteristic: they can either talk for hours or sit in silence. Sometimes we need to alternate between the two.

A good, long, talk – and sometimes a good cry – is often the best cure for anything that is bothering you. It works best if there is a recipient. A friend who understands you and can soothe your aching soul.Someone who was with you before a crisis, now during it, and will remain even after it is gone. Talking about our problems alleviates our sense of burden,the pressure we feel because of them. But it has an even greater effect when you know that you’re talking to someone who may not be able to relate, but certainly comprehends your troubles. They don’t need to offer solutions. Just to be there and listen. Often, that is more important. Because most people don’t listen. They only hear what they want, all the while preparing their response for when it is their turn to enter the discussion.

Perhaps that is also the reason why it is difficult to have intellectual conversations nowadays. That ability to just sit and talk, about anything and everything. To speak without fear or regrets or limitations. To talk for hours about life and all is challenges and what makes it all worthwhile.

There is a very valid saying related to this: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people”. Consider what the talk is about next time you socialise. You’ll better realise your level of interaction.Of course, we’ve all found ourselves discuss all three at some point or other. But it is the time you devote to each that matters.

Talking helps us to externalise what we’re hiding inside. It also helps us better understand ourselves and our own needs. What we’re feeling and what we want to do about it. Most of the time we don’t talk so that others can offer solutions, we talk so that we better acknowledge our problem and find the way to solve it ourselves and help us heal. Support, however, is always welcome.

The thing is, to choose to talk. For whenever we say “I can’t”, “it is not my fault”, “I’m not responsible”, “there is no other way”, we are merely lying to ourselves. There is always a choice. And it is one made by us.

The way you say things

misunderstandingStephen was a known diplomat. He had spent his entire life studying and training to devote his life to being a professional envoy. He knew well that the way you say things could save a lot of anguish and misunderstanding. That is why words were just as important as the tone in which you utter them.

That is what he was trying to explain to his young nephew one sunny afternoon on the terrace. The little boy had asked why his aunt was upset again. She had told Stephen that he sounded “mean and angry” and “she had done nothing to deserve such behaviour”.

You know, 10% of quarrels are due to a disagreement and 90% due to a wrong tone of voice”, said Stephen. His nephew looked at him with wide eyes, wondering how the tone of one’s voice could cause so much trouble.

Diplomats learn from a young age how to be able to be discrete in any situation. In fact, we are the ones who are – as it is said – able to tell someone to go… somewhere bad in such a way that they look forward to the journey”. The young boy laughed, even though he wasn’t sure if he had understood everything correctly. But his uncle had a way of being so persuasive that you just couldn’t disagree.

The point, in every conversation you make, is to be calm, to maintain your temper and to simply say things in the most serene way possible. In that way, even if you insult someone, they’ll take it much lighter than if you yell some bad words at them”.

There is always a way to achieve your purpose. But losing your temper is not one of them”.

Jessica appeared at the door still moody. Stephen got up, wrapped his arms around her and whispered softly in her ear “forgive me, I didn’t mean to sound so abrupt”.

Jessica smiled and fell deeper into his arms.

Their young nephew laughed. His uncle was right. And he seemed an expert in this art.

10 ways texting can make you smarter

TextingTalking is defined as the action of communicating or exchanging ideas, information etc., by speaking, or by uttering sounds of some sort. In the modern digital world, talking is equivalent to texting. We spend so much time in front of a screen that our way of communicating has evolved to be through instant messages, emails, or simply put, texts of any kind.

In whatever way it may come about, talking is essential. Because it is always better to share something with others rather than keep it locked up inside of you. Particularly when something good comes along, not having anyone to tell and join in the excitement, sort of sucks out half the joy.

So here is a short list of why talking (in any form, and preferably with others) can make you smarter:

  1. In the quest to share ideas and find conversation starters or goers, you will eventually be incited to read more, thus learn more and expand your intellectual capacity. You will discover worlds out there you never knew existed and will be amazed by how isolated we used to be. You may even be shocked at how things we still take for granted are daringly fought for by others.
  2. If you can’t express what it is you think or desire, then perhaps you are not clear about it either. Albert Einstein had said that “you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Just remember you can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) comment on things you don’t know about.
  3. There is no other way of getting your point of view across (well, no other peaceful way) other than clearly stating your position. Don’t expect others to guess what you want unless you state it. The struggle to develop a coherent and solid argument will open the door to interesting information for you too.
  4. You will learn to appreciate the views of others. It’s always easier to criticize than comprehend. Every interaction should celebrate the diversity of views among us. Voltaire vowed to “defend to the death your right to speak”, even if he did disapprove of what you say. Freedom of speech and opinion is a fundamental right we so often take for granted and are so willing to boldly proclaim whenever it is violated.
  5. Twitter’s limitation of 140 characters has made every word count, forcing us to squeeze our minds into making those few words mean the most they can, and constraining us to say everything we need to in the fewest amount of words possible. Consequently, it has made us appreciate all the more the power of words. And spelling. And perhaps enticed us to flick through a dictionary. Or thesaurus.
  6. Talking to others makes you look at the other side of the coin. We all view life through our own one-sided perspective. But what about asking someone in a different situation how they view things? It will give you a different lens through which to view the facts and will open your mind to new thoughts and ideas. It may even bring you a step closer to understanding this world we live in.
  7. Through conversations you can learn how to do a lot – about how to turn a pessimistic person around to having a glimpse of optimism for things in their lives. How to become witty in order to respond to petty comments. Perhaps you will find like-minded people out there, or someone who challenges you intellectually and stimulates a dialogue from which you may all gain. It may lead to arguments you didn’t know you had until someone made you think of them.
  8. Talking may lead to the next great discovery. The innovation we’ve been all waiting for. Exchange ideas, develop them, compliment them through conversations. You’d be surprised at the outcome.
  9. The more you talk, the more you learn. And it is not just about the gossip. The more information and points of view you hear, the more you will be able to distinguish between the truth and the lies; between propaganda and realism. And the more you will be able to develop your own informed opinion about the state of things.
  10. Ultimately, talking and being able to express your thoughts makes you more attractive. It shows you are not a feeble by-stander in this exciting world. You take part and have a view. And there is nothing as powerful as a mind in action.

Selfish Shellfish Selfies

ShellfieGo into a café. Look around. How many people do you see who are really conversing? Who are actually talking and listening to each other? Look at their hand gestures, their body movement, their eye contact. Any? Now, count how many people you see instead being distracted by a digital device. Too many to count, huh?

It’s amazing how the first thing we have come to notice when entering a café, a bar, a restaurant, is whether they have free Wi-Fi or not. As if that is the criterion of whether their food will be healthy or tasty, or even edible. Because of course, we then have to check-in, post on every social media account we have, that we are at that specific place. And then, we have that irresistible need – that feels like an itch that must be scratched – to take selfies of everything, as if that is what will prove our existence.

We have become such narcissists and so self-centred that when someone asks us what we do, we hesitate for a while, and our thoughts run to the last thing we posted or read online in order to find an interesting conversation starter. How many hours of the day do we spend sunk in a screen, reading. As though we are shellfish retreating in their hard exterior, waiting for the moment a pearl will emerge. Reading about the news, about other people’s status updates, about pretty much everything. Because we need to be informed about everything. And then we also need to have an opinion about everything too. And we obviously need to post it to demonstrate that we are opinionated and follow the current trends.

But just consider for a moment, what happens during a power cut? We sit in silence not knowing what to do. And if we still have charged phones, we might take a selfie and save it for later, to post as soon as power is back – #blackout #nowwhat #awkward.

Is this what we want to be remembered as? The generation hashtag? We are so busy trying to prove that we are active digitally that we don’t really do much in reality. What is the point of going for a hike or for a cross-country train ride, when you keep posting updates of your location? How are you exactly enjoying being in nature away from the digital insanity? Sure, take pictures, but save them for later. Then you can comprehensively recap your experience and tell others how worthwhile it was to escape for a while. Prompt yourself and others to step away from the screen.

Because, honestly, is this all we have to show for ourselves? That we are selfish shellfish taking selfies?

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me

Also part of Daily Post: 21st Century Citizen

Bear-ing a dream

bear_teddy_bear“Nanna, I had a weird dream last night.”

“Really? What did you see?”

“I saw a big brown bear. It seemed so alive!”

“A bear?” Nanna seemed surprised. And perplexed. “Was it growling?”

“Hmm, I don’t remember. But I don’t think so. Why, does it mean something different if it was?”

“No. I was simply wondering if there were any audio effects to it,” she smiled cheekily.

“Nanna! I’m serious! It scared me. What does it mean? And why did I see a bear in my sleep? So real and scary?”

“Well, my sweet Rita, you can’t expect others to interpret the messages sent by your subconscious. No matter what all these dream books and so-called-dream-experts say, you will only find the true meaning of your dreams if you search inside you. And well, you never know when you’ll realize what it means. Maybe it’s when you least expect it. Like a revelation!”

Rita seemed confused. What did the dream mean? Lost in her thoughts she was startled by Puffy, the golden retriever who came over to announce it was time for his walk. He jumped on to the chair next to her and knocked off a bunch of clothes and bags piled up there, including Rita’s favourite brown teddy bear which popped out from under a t-shirt as it fell on the floor. That very bear she had been looking for all week.

Rita smiled and looked at Nanna whose wisdom eyes gleamed in the morning sunlight. The subconscious is a funny thing after all.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Freudian Flips

The last stance

11275856-confused-emoticon“No, no, no. Not the last stance, the last dance! That’s what it’s called. Because it’s the last performance of one of the senior choreographers who’s retiring”

“Well if he’s so tiring, how will you even last a performance then?”

“Not tiring, he’s re-tiring. He’s old!”

“Old? And he’s still dancing? Heck, I get tired walking out on the balcony!”

“Well, he’s not exactly the one dancing. He just directs the rest. So you’ll come, right?”

“I’ll try, dear.”

“Great! You’ll love it, I’m sure. Now I have to go get my costume. Do you want me to bring you anything?”

“No, dear. I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Sure? No, ice cream, no pie, no sweet of any sort, nothing?”

“Sweet? My sugar levels are already up the roof!”

“Ok then. I’ll be back in a jiff!”

“In a jeep? Where will you get a jeep from?

“In a jiff, grandma! Not a jeep! Am I not enunciating right?”

“Of course, it would be emancipating, dear. Just not for our times. In the 60s perhaps, yes.”

“Emancipating? But I said enunciating! Oh, anyway. I’m off! See you later, grandma!”

“Ok, dear. Just be careful with that jeep, it’s not as liberating as you may think! I would know!”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Groupthink

Also part of Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue               

So how about the weather?

Sometimes, just some, you may find yourself in that awkward situation when you suddenly run out of things to say. And it feels weird, because you want to say something to keep the conversation going, but just don’t know what. Then you just look around, at the sky for a while, and bang! there it is: “so how about the weather, eh?”. If there is one thing that is always reliable, it is talking about the weather – there is always something to say – about how warm or cold it is, how strange it is acting up, how different it is between countries, etc etc…

It is actually amazing at how much is being said about the weather, but how little is (or can) ever be done about it. Come to think about it, the weather dominates a large part of our lives: it is the final thing on the news for precisely that reason. You need to know what the weather will be like the next day(s) in order to prepare for your trip, to know what kind of clothes to wear, to know if you can organize that outdoor excursion you’re planning, or to even know if those clothes you’re washing can be hanged out to dry. Plus, it is quite an obvious fact that the ups and downs of the weather affect your mood and emotions. For example, it is commonly perceived that people living in Mediterranean countries where the sun shines for most of the year are generally more easy-going, happier, and more positive (well, at least until the economic crisis struck!). And it is also more likely to suffer depression or melancholy when it is dark, grey and raining.

Changes in metereological conditions, no matter how much they are criticized for resulting in unimaginative conversations, are, in any sense, a part of our lives. But discussions don’t have to be dominated by that. There are so many more things to talk about, but these are all based on conditionalities: for example, having similar interests and concerns, similar likes and hobbies, and agreeing at least on something, for no-one can engage in a long-lasting conversation if they disagree with their interlocutor on everything. That would be more reminiscent of a saloon fight than a civilized conversation. Either way, the beauty of a true democracy is that freedom of expression and opinion is a given, providing everyone with the opportunity of expressing their own ideas, views and values, in such a way so as to stimulate a healthy debate on issues that concern us all. That, after all, is the point of having a discussion: to enlighten yourself by exchanging views with others and understanding opinions different to your own.  People today lack the ability to listen.  Instead, everybody wants to talk. And in the end a quarrel ensues in which each side categorically insists on the validity of their own beliefs, completely disregarding that of others. People have forgotten how to respect difference, not only in appearance but also in the mind. Just because, there are some things in common for all does not mean that we should all think the same. After all we are not created as clones, nor built as robots. People are born unique, with their own set of ideas and mentalities. And discussions help maintain and improve this, while opening-up close-minded visions to a wider part of the world.

And besides, if you’re ever stuck in that weird situation where you’re just not in the mood for a fight, or have no more ideas to share, well…there’s always the weather!

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