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Share Your Secrets to Be The Change

Share Your Secrets to Be The Change

    In any field with stuff worth learning, knowledge-hoarding is shamefully rampant. Have you ever asked someone you admired about how they made something you’re curious about, only to be rebuffed that “It’s a secret”? It’s happened to me 100s of times, and still, I press on to other sources.

    After all, there may be magic in mystery, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a congested artery when it comes to letting the knowledge flow.

    A rather peaceful dude, Gandhi, is famed for saying “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

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    And a man who changed the world and influenced its leaders, Alvin Toffler, said: “Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life.” He also said, “Knowledge is promiscuous. It mates and gives birth to more knowledge.”

    It sounds like a riddle, but knowledge has no bedfellows. Knowledge is a resource that becomes more plentiful as it’s used. Like oil or diamonds, there may be conflicts over knowledge, but unlike those materials, knowledge becomes more abundant as it’s applied.

    One of the greatest things is to be is a teacher, and I don’t just mean in school: I mean as a spreader of knowledge, a beacon of… enlightenment.

    If that sounds too vague, here are encouraging reasons which will work wonders for you:

    Sharing secrets creates an abundant culture

    To be clear, I’m not talking about revealing identities in the Witness Protection Program or doing anything that’d harm lives, but sharing healthy secrets that others can improve on.

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    Open source is a fine example when it comes to “abundant culture” in action: chances are even if you don’t know what it is and what it stands for, you’ve reaped some of the benefits. You may have never heard of Apache, but it’s the webserver technology that powers over 1/2 of the world’s websites. By sharing openly, proliferation, adoption, and usage of useful tools can be exponentially increased.

    On a related note, Creative Commons has allowed artists to enhance their artistry by sampling and remixing each others’ works without fear of being dampened by complex laws, becoming better creators in the process. Which relates to…

    Sharing secrets makes life simpler

    One of the reason why the Internet is so popular is because there’s so much sharing of secrets — and still, there are an infinite amount of unanswered questions! Whether it’s blogs or wikis, forums or social networking sites, people want to learn — even if they don’t say it.

    A resource I adore is The Straight Dope, which has grown a profuse web community out of a line of hit books. Their mission? To explore and expose plenty of life’s biggest question marks. Like hiccups.

    Even with paid staff on numerous sites, time and time again, we see that there are impressive amounts of volunteers who go out of their way to offer assistance and help solve secretive problems.

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    Great rule of thumb: if you battled your way through a problem and found an answer, you owe it to yourself and the world to share your solution. Spending some time to do this, likely at most a few hours, can create a rippleshock effect which ends up saving far more time than what you originally invested. I do this for a living and a hobby, and here’s a specific example. And since happiness often accompanies simplicity, you should know…

    Sharing secrets makes life happier

    We have enough problems and don’t need to invent more. You may’ve heard that the guilt of a weighty secret “eats you up”. I think that’s also true for stuff you want to share, but may be shy to. Perhaps there’s a nasty stigma associated with it.

    But realizing that simply talking about a problem can be incredibly empowering. Ever heard of Oprah Winfrey? The whole basis of her immensely successful talk show is personal confession and talking about life experiences. Oprah’s done drugs, had weight issues, suffered abusive relationships, and was raped… among many other aches. She’s talked about all these, and in the process, empowered herself and the many millions who can relate to her.

    Oprah didn’t begin with such an audience, but grew it over time, as more and more people came to adore her for being open, candid, and earnest. Eventually, some of her viewers would also go on to share their secrets, bettering more lives.

    Lift that weight off, and share a secret. It may not be clear who you’re helping yet, especially if you’ve decided to blog about it, but if sharing secrets helps you cope or deal with a pain, it’ll help someone else too.

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    People love “behind-the-scenes” insight

    Everyone knows the cinema is loaded with fictional movies. That doesn’t stop us from enjoying the DVD extras showing “the making of”: from interviews with cast and crew to commentary tracks to wireframe sketches (as Pixar is fond of doing), it doesn’t diminish the greatness of a polished work.

    Rather, showing what went into something helps you appreciate it even more. Brian Transeau aka BT, the versatile electronic musician, has given numerous at-length insights into his production techniques. That’s very unusual in snobby dance music scenes. What’s it done for him? Garnered many fans, encouraged other producers to try out (and thus be influenced by) his suggestions, and advanced the functionality of music-making programs. Furthermore, it’s challenged him to keep changing and growing.

    Coming up with new secrets then sharing them later is all part of the fun.

    Secret-sharers are heroes

    Conflict is inevitable in our existence. It’s no coincidence that if you share secrets that enlighten fellow humans, some tightminded folks will crawl out of the woodwork and bash you for letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. If it can happen to Bruce Lee opening up kung fu to the masses, it can happen to you. Don’t worry, your nemeses are just trying to cover up their sheer lack of progress while you blaze new trails.

    That’s why being a secret-sharer requires bravery. And who’s brave? A hero!

    You’ll be known as a generous person

    Everyone, with the exception of Scrooge, loves generosity. Your pockets may not be lined with bling, but if you get the word out about a useful secret that saves people time & trouble, whether it’s an overlooked discount code or an obscure Firefox add-on that makes their online life easier, you’ve contributed something positive.

    You’ll be remembered for that.

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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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