For Christmas, my daughter gave me a collection of transcribed poems – some of her favorites, some of mine – and painted a small watercolor to accompany each one.
I opened the cover and immediately began to cry.
How could I not?
I had received two of the most precious gifts any of us can give; to be the subject of one’s sincere attention and to be understood.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that people are usually talking about themselves. It’s both comforting and disconcerting that the human condition is to be self-referential.
It’s comforting because it reminds us that we are not alone in experiencing the world from the three-foot radius that surrounds our body. It’s disconcerting because we like to believe that we are objective about our expressed perspectives.
We are not, at least not that often.
So, we should pay more attention to what we say and to what others say. We might become a bit more humble and a bit more empathetic by doing so.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.