Far too many conversations in our stressed out, revved up world start just that way. We connect with a colleague at work, bump into an old friend at the grocery store, or meet a neighbor on the street. Before we even think about it, we’re automatically asking, “So, are you busy?”
It’s a question that usually generates a lengthy recounting of activities done and undone. Recounting the proverbial to do list seems to be a common way to establish our value and justify our existence on the planet.
Oddly enough, when you ask people to consider what really matters in life, the things that show up most frequently tend not to be the things that populate their to do lists.
What’s most meaningful and energizing relates more to the big picture issues: relationships and adventures, or a deep sense of connectedness and purpose.
If that is where more meaning lives, why not change the focus of our conversations? Why not start asking each other these questions instead:
- So, what’s making you happy these days?
- So, what’s got you excited these days?
- So, what’s bringing you joy these days?
You’ll definitely be nudging the exchange away from auto-pilot. Be prepared for confusion and possible brain lock. We’re just not accustomed to thinking that way. It’s a different conversation, and a different way of being in the world.
Don’t let different deter you. Prime the pump. Give it a try yourself and experiment with others.
Ask one of those questions and tune in to the answers. I’ll bet it creates a much more meaningful exchange than swapping our lists of to do’s.
Quotes Of The Week: She decided to enjoy more and endure less. – Kobi Yamada
My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate. – Thornton Wilder
Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. – Marianne Williamson
Resource Of The Week: Check out this article on Four Ways To Train Your Brain For Positivity.
Readers Write: KE writes: I love your reminder to change it up when interacting with others. I do seek more meaning, and your open-ended questions are a great way to open the door to a deeper level of conversation.