Conscious Communication: bringing communication
up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above
in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.
Quick Communication Tip
the Big Picture
Patience seems to be a pretty normal and accepted aspect
of looking at or dealing with details, but when it comes to the Big
Picture, we seem to run out, as if patience were a limited resource.
People even assert their lack of patience as a function of being Big
Picture thinkers, as if there were an unquestionable relationship
between the two. In fact the only relationship between being a Big
Picture thinker and a lack of patience is the one we create. And as much
as this may annoy some people, that says more about a kind of laziness,
than a necessary connection.
Patience and Big Picture thinking are not mutually exclusive; in fact
they work together to create a superior outcome. We just need to put in
the effort to learn patience.
There’s an almost “crazed” and frantic rush in our lives that has little
connection to reality. It becomes blatant on the road, but this same
impatience shows up subtly in other important parts of our lives.
Staying with traffic’s exaggerated view for illustration, in the seconds
between waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, and getting a right-of-way
green arrow, why would anyone choose to bolt in front of oncoming cars?
When the rain makes the freeway itself almost invisible, why would
people choose to race each other, as if they’re at the Indy 500? Is it a
choice? What are we doing? Where’s the fire? We don’t really have an
answer. All we can do is blurt the vague “I have no time!” that’s being
fed into our brains from every direction. It just isn’t true.
Choice is about thinking, which is different than reacting to a cultural
cattle prod. Critical thinking tells you that a few seconds here or
there on the road is meaningless, unless you’re an emergency services
vehicle saving someone’s life. There are no trophies, no cash prizes,
and no reward for beating somebody through a light. There is really no
upside, save the absolutely invented illusion that we’re somehow winning
The three seconds made racing to the stop sign are ridiculous. There’s
no prize money, and you cannot make up the fifteen minutes from leaving
the house late (by the way if you do the math, that’s equal to 300
three-second units). The downside is astounding, but time-scarcity shuts
off our imagination. It has to be shut off to not think of a puppy or a
child potentially running out into the road in front of us.
Yes, impatience in cars makes a dramatic point, yet the downsides of
impatience riddle the rest of our lives as well. Impatience does damage
to our communication, to our relationships, to the very quality of our
lives. It has no upside. Nothing is improved by impatience.
Getting something done quickly, that will create more work to clean up
or fix, is not speedy. There are more clichés and proverbs around
rushing than just about any other issue we face. “A stitch in time saves
nine,” “Penny-wise and pound-foolish,” “measure twice and cut once,” and
the list goes on.
The only way we can make rushing (as opposed to moving swiftly) make any
sense is to ignore the Big Picture, and focus on a tiny piece right in
front of us. We know (when we’re thinking) that trying to “make up”
seconds here or there will not improve our lives, our careers, or our
relationships. It can easily do harm, and that makes it both unfortunate
and worth fixing.
Going the other direction; the way of patience, offers us countless
positive outcomes. Obviously, safety (physical, emotional,
communicative) for all is enhanced on a quantum level. There is also the
very real biochemical difference in the way we feel, when we are
pleasant, patient, and kind, versus the way we feel when we are brusque,
impatient, and surly. One of the chapters in “Kind Ambition” dealing
with how we treat one another, has an exercise related back to the road:
"Let someone go first at a four-way stop sign, let them get in or out of
a parking spot on a busy street, and give them acknowledgement as well:
a smile, a nod, or both. Notice how good you feel at the end of the day.
Notice that your productivity did not suffer one iota." I’d bet it
When we communicate with each other, we rarely allow the other person to
finish their sentences. Our impatience drives us to push the
conversation faster, to rush the person speaking, to interrupt, and to
assume what they were going to say anyway, so why wait for them to
finish? Not only are we most likely missing important details, but we’re
doing damage, as we’re running over their feelings. Once again, there is
no upside. By being more patient with one another, and being conscious
with our communication, we can get more done well in less time, and
wasn’t that the point of rushing in the first place?
In the midst of our busy lives, we’re bombarded with messages that often
connect success to being mean, rushing, and grabbing for ourselves. You
may have noticed it’s not making us feel better or improving the world
around us. Being more patient, compassionate, and looking at the Big
Picture will absolutely make us feel better, and will improve the world
around us. It’s an easy choice, when you think about it.
Quick Communication Tip
The benefits of
patience extend well beyond improved communication, however even staying
within this context there are many things we can do to improve.
Make it a goal in and of itself to be more patient. Yes, the
awareness itself will have an impact. Don't assume you know what
the other person is going to say; wait for them to finish.
Slow down just enough to be really conscious of what you're doing and
saying in the moment. As the "stitch in time saves nine" adage
illustrates, you'll most likely get more done in less time, because you
won't have to go back and fix the inevitable errors that speeding
through will cause.
Take that moment to think about what you're about to say before
blurting. When we take the consequences into account, we're more
careful with our words.
Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or
catapult you forward? Come visit the
or better yet,
contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.
- the podcast series
KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Personal Life Media -
"Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (full interview)
for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain
2nd Edition now available
visit the Blog.
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Institute for Integral Enneagram
Without Losing Your Soul
about you having
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driver’s seat of your
Circumstances will always be
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is written for you,
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The chapters hold to a formula of
first giving you a new way to look at
things, then offering you tangible
Action Steps to try them out, and
finally some things to notice when you do.
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