What’s Your Story: Can You See What’s In Front Of Your Nose?

What’s Your Story: Can You See What’s In Front Of Your Nose?

Cow (shallow Depth Of Field)“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” –George Orwell

Recently, my wife and I went to Washington, D.C. for an annual meeting of psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and life coaches. While everything was very interesting, attending meetings back to back over several days can be very tiring. So we greatly enjoyed the breaks and the opportunities to take walks or hang out at one of the many outdoor cafes surrounding the hotel. During one particular lunch break, I experienced a common phenomenon, one that you may have also experienced.

While enjoying a delicious meal and some wine, my wife Judy and I were engaged in a lively conversation about the relative power of emotion vs. logic. Specifically, which is the more powerful and dominant brain function? It was an interesting discussion, but, ironically, as our emotions intensified throughout the debate, the quality of our logic diminished rapidly. Fortunately, the time of the next presentation was approaching and we had to hurry back to the hotel meeting room. Feeling impatient, I asked where the hell the bill for the meal was. Looking surprised, Judy said she had already paid for it. I said, “How can that be, the bill has not yet arrived!” She retorted with a bit of annoyance, “Yes, the waiter left it on the table over ten minutes ago.” Rather than simply acknowledge that I hadn’t seen it, I insisted he had not done so. Judy simply stared at me with a disdainful eye, packed up her belongings and left the table. I followed a few steps behind. It was now clear to me that my emotional mind was winning over logic and reason.

“What was that all about?!” I thought as we walked back to the meetings.

The truth was that I could not see beyond what was right in front of my nose. Focused on the discussion/argument, I did not see the waiter approach the table, ask if we were done, and place the bill on the table. Nor did I notice Judy leave the payment, along with a tip. I was too focused on the discussion. It was as if an invisible shield had sprung up, closing me off to my surroundings, thus isolating me from the financial dealings at hand.

I encourage you to click here and check out this great YouTube video! This short video clip vividly demonstrates the point I am making. We see what we choose to see, not necessarily what is. Too often, we get locked into our own perspective and do not see or hear what else is going on around us. We may think we are having a dialogue with someone else, but in reality we are just performing a monologue. No wonder we all get so irritated at each other!

If you want to live an extraordinary life of success, accomplishment and satisfaction, it is important not only to WATCH and HEAR, but also to SEE and LISTEN. Otherwise you may become short-sighted and you risk coming across as opinionated and argumentative. If you do not acknowledge another person’s point of view, he or she will not feel validated or respected. They will most likely respond with a quick retort, an argument, or emotional defensiveness. Basically, you end up in a power struggle, a battle to prove the other person wrong. Trust erodes and you produce another antagonist in your life.

Extraordinary living requires extraordinary seeing and listening. Here are a couple tips to keep you focused and engaged, not preoccupied and self-centered:

1) When engaged in a discussion, let the other person complete his/her comments. Before you jump in with, “Yeah, but…” first play back what the other person just said. Recap their point with a response such as, “So, what you’re saying is… Am I getting your point? Anything else you want to say about that?” Sometimes, your partner might add a comment or two. In this case, you should again summarize what you have just heard. Then it is your turn to respond with something like “OK, that makes sense from your point of view but I think I see the situation a bit differently than you. Let me tell you how I see it and see if it makes any sense to you.”

2) When you leave a conversation, you will only have understand approximately 60% of what the other person had intended to say. Within 24 hours, you will have forgotten about 60% of what you actually heard. The net result is that most people have about 36% effective listening! Extraordinary listening requires near a 75% accurate listening score. Recognize that you may get too caught up in what you want to say or that you may be preparing to talk while the other person is still speaking, in which case you are definitely not going to be able to see or hear what is right in front of your nose!

Want to know more? Order Navigating For Success online, at center12@verizon.net, or call me for coaching.

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