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10 Simple Daily Practices That Can Help You See A Bigger World

10 Simple Daily Practices That Can Help You See A Bigger World

Have you ever just sat, got out of your own thoughts, and observed the world around you—the world for what it actually is and what it has to offer? This world is so big, so vast, and so replete with marvels that one can continue to be amazed every day. However, the world is only as big as you allow your perception to define it. It is only as big as you make conscious efforts to come out of our shells and observe.

We humans go through so much daily and have to do so many things that we forget to look around us, to just sit down and view nature as it is, and observe what is going on in our surroundings. Here are 10 simple daily practices that are fun, practical, and useful and help you see a bigger world.

1. Look up from your smartphones, take off your headphones

Our use of technology immensely limits our awareness of life around us. Engaged with the glowing screens in front of us, instead of the people and the environment around us, we often fail to notice what is going on in our surroundings and miss out simple joys of life. A whole new world exists beyond that glowing screen, but it requires from us to look around and experience all that it has to offer. The effects of the changing seasons, the aesthetics of a venue you are dining at, and a talented street performer beneath the park bridge are just some of the few things that you may find when you start observing. Similarly, while travelling in a vehicle or walking, you can observe better and listen to interesting conversations and sounds around you if you do not have your ears plugged. Therefore, one of the most important daily practices for seeing the bigger world is to limit your use of headphones and smartphones when you step outside.

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2. Don’t take the same path to or from school/work

On your walk or drive to or from school/work, take a different path each day. You’ll be amazed at how much you discover when you do so! It is very easy to follow the same path daily, but what’s the point in that? You will see different patterns, different people, different architecture, different street art etc. when you keep changing your path and observe keenly on your way.

3. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings

Stop and listen to the sounds of the natural environment around you–the chirping, whistling and singing of the birds, the buzzing of bees, rustling of tree leaves, and the various sounds of the city, all may bring new information to you. Train your ears to listen for new things and notice different sounds.

4. Observe and talk to people around you

From jogging in the park to the line in the café, there are countless opportunities to meet new people and talk to them, but we have to be looking around and observing them in order to notice and take advantage of the opportunity. Observing and talking to people is another of the simple daily practices that can help you see the bigger world and expand your worldview as people share their experiences with you.

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5. Challenge yourself to pay attention to new things

Keeping a look out for new things is easier said than done. You cannot just plan that you will start observing the world more from today and expect that it happens too. Instead you might be able to produce better results when you challenge yourself to do so. For example, you can assign yourself a scavenger hunt, i.e. select something for you to look for during your walk or anytime you are out during the day. This could be anything, security cameras, orange flowers, people with headphones or anything. You can also challenge yourself to take a photo of a unique thing every day or with different challenges each day for keeping it interesting.

6. Sit in a public place and journal

Take out a few minutes to sit in a public place, such as a bus station, a park, a shopping mall, etc. Observe the people around and record details about them, such as how they are dressed, the expressions they are wearing on their faces, etc. Note the details and write about whatever comes to your mind or about the way the scene made you feel. This will also help you find out new things around you that you never noticed before.

7. Consume entertainment actively

While watching a movie or listening to a song, we are often tempted to zone out. But thinking about what the director of a movie was trying to get at when he/she added a particular aspect in the story or what the song’s lyrics actually mean may be another of the important simple daily practices to make you see the bigger world and practice observation.

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8. Get lost—explore the streets and alleys you have never been to before

When you have free time, get outside and explore places you have never been to before. You may discover a new café or restaurant, different new street performers, another breed of dogs that you never knew about, or a new way back to home. You become so mindful of your surroundings when you explore new streets and alleys.

9. Analyse what you see or read, and ask questions

When you observe your surroundings or read something, stop and question your thoughts. Start asking as much questions as you can, which will help you think critically. This also helps in boosting your skills of deduction and observation in general, while also expanding your knowledge about the world.

10. Make connections between what you see and the knowledge you have

For seeing a bigger world, your daily practices also need to include connecting your previous knowledge to what you see or observe. For example, you see a child having trouble in reading. You know this could be related to vision problems or it may be dyslexia so you look for symptoms of both and make a deduction on the basis of the ones that are found more prominently in the child. In this way you will be able to learn more and enhance your knowledge in general.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Mehwish A. Wahid

Writer and Researcher

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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