I am human. You are an alien.
So much time has gone by since the last time I wrote. She and I have gone different ways, I think for the better. I traveled to Europe. I have read more economic books and listened attentively to my favorite podcasts-mainly the Ezra Klein Show, Conversations with Tyler Cowen, Tim Ferris Show, James Altucher Show, Modern Love and Freakanomics. The conversations and guests at these podcasts are unique, but me listening to 2 or 3 shows a day fuses the message and stories.
I’m writing today to practice communication in hopes of one day mastering the written and spoken language. I tried to explain the 7 Habits of Effective People to my mom, especially the point about working on yourself before others- ‘Inside Out’ as the author called it. I wanted to say that improving relationships should start with improving yourself, and I listed the 3 first habits: Proactivity, Start with the End in Mind and First Things First. At the end of my description of all 3 habits, I couldn’t connect how improving yourself would help improve others, although that was one of the book’s core message and what I understood during my read.
So let me try again: When you know which values you hold and be proactive, you can choose to keep or change what you value, and eventually work to embody those values. The books example of values resonated with me, so I will use them here: being courageous and considerate. Considerate is the capacity to listen and courageous is the capacity to be heard. When these two are balanced, I can navigate through each decision and interaction wisely, rightly and effectively. Once I know that being courageous and considerate is my goal, I can be proactive and work towards those traits. I believe, like the author believes, that change starts with your ‘paradigm’ or ‘outlook’ or ‘values’.
So communicating with my mom didn’t have to be like communicating across species. How many times did I have to explain my point, which was misunderstood judging from her response? How many moments did I struggle to convey my thoughts? That is where language comes to my rescue. With the right set of vocabulary and sentence forming, she could understand me. But is that all? The ideas also need to be clear in my mind- each connection, cause and effect. I had impressions of ideas, swirling through my mind, about everything I read and listen to. Impressions don’t communicate very well, maybe except to convey emotions, like through paintings and perhaps music.
I thought later, maybe if I can just dance my point to her, or paint my point to her, or sculpt, or play the guitar to get my point across. But forming sentences is the only way to communicate in a precise way. And I need practice.