Thursday, February 2, 2017

Alain de Botton on "good communicators."

De Botton writes:
What makes people good communicators is, in essence, an ability not to be fazed by the more problematic or offbeat aspects of their own characters. They can contemplate their anger, their sexuality, and their unpopular, awkward, or unfashionable opinions without losing confidence or collapsing into self-disgust. They can speak clearly because they have managed to develop a priceless sense of their own acceptability. They like themselves well enough to believe that they are worthy of, and can win, the goodwill of others if only they have the wherewithal to present themselves with the right degree of patience and imagination.
Quotes from an interview with him over on Brain Pickings.

Ultimately what he's referring to is the ability to be open and vulnerable. In approaching someone from an honest space, you're able to receive and communicate in a way that's willing to exchange and adapt. Are you coming to me to engage?

It takes a lot of energy to engage someone in a meaningful way. I'm not always ready for it. I don't always have the energy or the attention span. It can be difficult to remain present and alert to a conversation when your own mind wanders. 

There's rarely a fully open conversation, in that we censor ourselves. We wonder what to say or how to say it, we struggle for the language. We can't always find the words. Thoughts trigger other thoughts and memories, we scan our own experiences for relevance - it's easy to fall down a well when trying to find something pertinent to say.

Being able to approach someone in a calm, stable way involves a lot of self-assuredness, and it also take courage to engage the world. The days, things are so rough politically / in local culture, being present and open and vulnerable is a big ask. We can't be on all the time.

I'm generally pretty confident in my ability to communicate - but when the energy is there.

That's the rub. 

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