Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and nothing else in the world mattered in that moment? Your mind wasn’t racing or thinking of the next thing you were going to say; you were just there, listening.
The late Dr. Wayne Dyer, a man who’s penned many New York Times best sellers, was well known for his ability to give his complete attention to the person he was in a conversation with. In fact, many said it was one of his greatest attributes.
Not his education, not the way he commanded an audience when he spoke, and not his many books – what people said to love most about Dr. Dyer was the way he paid attention to them.
We’ve all met people like this – so clued in to what we’re saying that it feels as if nothing else in the world is happening.
It’s a beautiful feeling to be recognized.
We’ve also met people not like this – checking their phones every other minute, looking around us, nodding their heads and pretending to listen – doing anything else but paying attention to what we’re saying.
This doesn’t feel so good.
And we’ve probably done both.
The Art of Attention
Our lives are busy. Multi-tasking seems like the only option if we’re going to get it all done. I do it too. Not that long ago I was in my kitchen nursing my baby, while making a snack for my six year old daughter and listening to her read. Don’t ask me to remember the book she was reading or what it was about. I have no idea.
But how much of our multi-tasking is on things that aren’t nearly as important as the person standing right in front of us?
When we take every interaction we have as important, like a divine appointment, we gain the full benefit that interaction can bring. Regardless of whom we are with – the store clerk, a client, our children, or another family member - when we give focus to the one in front of us, make eye contact and fully absorb the entire conversation, we reap the benefit that comes with clear engagement.
It’s a known fact that communicating is done with more than just words. Our body language and even the way we feel at that moment both play huge roles in our communication. Being aware and fully engaged means picking up on things that may be overlooked otherwise. This is hugely beneficial in figuring out relationships – both personal and business.
Recognizing who we are with places value on the interaction, ourselves included. Showing up pays respect to everyone involved. And each moment and each person we encounter are all worthy of respect.
There will always be reasons to multi-task. Life is busy and we all have a lot to do. But we may find that by paying attention and really giving the person we are with our full attention we gain a clearer perspective and understanding. Most importantly, we pay witness to who they really are, which they so deserve.
Our relationships are so important to our wellbeing. Above any other accolade, social media status, news update, award or degree, how we show up is how we will be remembered.
So, let’s do this. Let’s challenge ourselves and see how fully engaged we can be with each conversation we have. By doing so, our kids will pick up on it too.
Practicing this also puts us in a place of receiving it from others. It’s a total win/win. Less screen time and thinking about what’s next, and more appreciation of whom we’re with when we’re with them.
I’d love to hear what you think about this, and if it’s something you already do or would like to do more of. Please leave a comment below.
Lots of love,
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