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7 Ways Doctor Who Makes You A Better Person

7 Ways Doctor Who Makes You A Better Person

Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows, and has been since about a year ago (I barely knew anything about it until one of my obsessed friends told me to give it a chance). Though I haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching the entire classic series, I am very familiar with the modern continuation of it, having watched and re-watched all eight series multiple times.

One thing I like to stress to people who both have and haven’t watched Doctor Who is that it literally made me a better person, or at least gave me a template for what a “good person” should be. Not to say that the Doctors are perfect, but they are heroic figures that one can usually look up to. So, you ask, how exactly does Doctor Who make you a better person, specifically speaking? I’ll tell you below (watch out for the spoilers, there are a bunch of them)…

1. You Will Acquire A More Whimsical Outlook On Life.

Doctor Who Playing Game

    The amount of emotion I exude on a daily basis often gets, more often than not, compared to a character like Dexter from the show Dexter more than anything else. So, you might find it surprising that my favorite modern doctor is 11, portrayed by Matt Smith. This Doctor is known for his constant cheerfulness, whimsical attitude, and brief flirtations with supreme anger and sadness. Whenever I watched 11 I thought to myself, “Man, I wish I was more like that guy!” 11 wasn’t exactly the person I aspire to be, but he embodied everything that I usually lack, what with his ability to exude energy and optimism at all times, connect with all kinds of people, and easily handle every situation with a grin, a fez, and clever one-liners.

    Even his theme music, from the classic “I Am The Doctor” to “The Majestic Tale of a Madman in a Box” emotes a sense of wonder, zanyness, and heroism that I envy. I give 11 credit for giving me the bravery to take theater classes in college, and convincing me to be more “out there” in my social interactions. Thanks Matt, you’ll be missed!

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    2. It Will Open Your Mind To Endless Possibilities.

    DWBP#2

      Well, this is a show about an alien who travels all of time and space, isn’t it? Nothing is impossible here, even the rules of time can be broken if the plot demands it (looking at you Stephen Moffat). This can be said of a few other science fiction shows, but Doctor Who is the only one that truly has no limits in what kinds of stories or situations it can present to you. It’s a good reminder that there’s a nearly endless universe out there to explore, which helps especially when you’re being brought down by the drudgery of daily life.

      3. It Will Teach You About Relationships.

      DWBP#3

        Doctor Who, at its core, is essentially a show about relationships, whether they be between the Doctor and his companion or the companion and another love interest. I’m sure all of you know about the 10th Doctor and Rose, or 11 and River, or Amy and Rory, or Clara and Danny (I guess I’ll throw Rose and Mickey in there too). The relationships on this show aren’t exactly the most stable, and they usually always end in some sort of catastrophic tragedy, but for the most part they are rather realistic and heartwarming, and provide a kind of blueprint for a real life relationship (especially Amy and Rory).

        4. It Will Help You Deal With Loss.

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        DWBP#4

          Doctor Who is one of the only shows I can think of that replaces its lead protagonist with a new actor every few years. While this keeps the show fresh, it also means that you have to see your favorite Doctor die/regenerate. I know I’m not the only one who felt a few tears welling up in their eyes when Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith left the stage. Tennant’s departure was especially jarring, since the show dragged it out so long and pulled on so many of the audience’s emotional strings that a large portion of the Doctor Who watching population refused to give Tennant’s successor Matt Smith a chance.

          Eventually though, most got over it, and came to enjoy the 11th Doctor regardless of the insanely tragic way that 10 left us. As most of you probably know, the 11th Doctor regenerated in a bit more of an optimistic manner, which stayed true to his character and made accepting 12 (Peter Capaldi) much easier. Not only does the Doctor change every few series, but so do the companions. Doctor Who helps you appreciate what you have while it’s still there, as you know that it can and will likely be gone in just a handful of episodes…

          5. You Will Become More Sociable.

          DWBP#5

            The best thing about Doctor Who for many is that it has such a large fanbase. I’ve worn a shirt that says “Bow Ties Are Cool” in several states across America, and everywhere I’ve gone I’ve had fellow Who fans high five me or comment on my apparel. It’s like being part of a secret club. It takes a peculiar person to like Doctor Who, and so right off the bat, if you find a fellow fan, you know you’ll have a ton in common. I will say however that it’s a bit of a strange fanbase, demographically speaking. Teenage girls and middle-aged men alike find something to like about the show, which I suppose says something about its magic.

            6. You Will Be More Inspired (Thanks To Its Soundtrack).

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              “I am the Doctor, and I name you THE BONELESS!”

              Doctor Who‘s music has a strangely satisfying effect on me. All I need to do is listen to one of the many versions of its theme song, or any of the Doctor’s themes, and I’m instantly pumped and ready to go. Even right now, as I type this, I’m listening to one of the Matt Smith era songs “A Mad Man In A Box,” which, while being slightly tear-inducing, is also highly motivational. The 12th Doctor’s theme music doesn’t have a name yet (at least not that I can find), but it’s equally inspiring to listen to.

              The 10th Doctor’s themes were a bit on the sad side, but also had heroic flourishes of their own. Maybe I’m just incredibly nerdy, but I often make a playlist of songs from Doctor Who’s many soundtracks and listen to them to push myself just a bit harder during my runs or other exercises. Nothing like reaching mile number two, feeling drained, and hearing the familiar intro to “I Am The Doctor” stream into your ears!

              7. You Will Be Able To Stand Up For Yourself.

                “I’m the Doctor. Basically…run.”

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                The modern iteration of Doctor Who has had its darker moments, and such times have required the Doctor to take things into his own hands and not let anyone or anything stand in his way. The 9th and 12th Doctors have been particularly harsh when it comes to dealing with enemies and allies alike, when it serves their purposes. 10 and 11 were a bit more on the whimsical side, especially the latter as noted above, but they too could turn on a switch inside their Time Lord minds and become absolutely scary in terms of how brutally they dealt with their enemies. The bottom line here is that, while you can be whimsical like 11, emotional like 10, or stubborn like 12, what truly matters is that you are able to put your foot down when it counts and not allow yourself to be stepped on, by anyone or anything.

                It was about a year ago today that I started watching Doctor Who on a daily basis, and it only took me about a month to catch up (actually, Matt’s last episode was the first one I caught live). While it didn’t teach me everything I know about life, it did make me a better person in a multitude of ways, more than I can even list here. They do say opposites attract, which is why I think I was so enamored with 11 and his out-of-the-box way of perceiving just about every situation. While I miss the man with the big hair, and all of his predecessors, I have enjoyed his successor as well (though this past Saturday’s finale was a bit too Clara-centric for my liking). Did Doctor Who change your life, or at the very least, change your perception about something? Please share in the comments below!

                Featured photo credit: Matt Smith’s Bow Tie/Paul Hudson via flickr.com

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                Published on May 18, 2021

                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

                More Tips Improving Listening Skills

                Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

                Reference

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