Do You Know The Opportunity Cost For Not Being Present?

Hint: It’s massive.

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Have you ever caught up with someone only to realize your mind was wandering off the whole time?

Or that you focused on what was said only with the intend to respond?

Or that you would nod while checking your phone and with no clue about what the other person had just said?

I know I have.

A lot.

I would let myself get distracted by what the next meeting would be, by what I would have for dinner, by how tired I was. You name it.

At some point, I started overanalyzing the people I interacted with, trying to read their emotions while they were talking, but without focusing on what they said.

Thinking that for some reason that counted as being present.

It doesn’t.

And then I realized how much I was losing.

I’m sad to realize I’ve missed a lot of stories by not listening to the person across.

A lot of opportunities for connection.

I missed out on meeting incredible people.

But I’ve been practicing and getting better. Subsequently, the quality of my relationships have skyrocketed.

Whether it’s with loved ones, or with recently met people, I’ve made it a personal mission to give my undivided attention. To actually listen.
And to ask questions.
Without instructing.
Simply showing curiosity and digging beyond the superficial level.
Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

That’s how I’m getting much closer to my brother than I ever was. Because I realized that rather than imposing what I believe is true on him, I actually listen, ask him how he sees life and why. That got him to open up and changed the tone of our relationship.

Not to say I’m hitting the 100% score on this. There are still times where I’m not focused enough. But I do my best.

I try to get in a naive non-judgmental state where I don’t take what is said for granted, and keep asking Why.
While practicing this, I’ve been surprised to notice how many times I’ve been greeted with “Well, that’s a really good question”.
A simple “Why?”, or “How?”, or “In what way did you notice this/that?” goes a long way, because there often are many unseen layers in what other people say that are waiting to be uncovered.

This has lead me to learning more about who people truly are, rather than the high-level image we all convey by default because we assume others don’t care about who we fundamentally are.

Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash
Being present means giving your undivided attention to the person you’re with, and genuinely be interested in learning more about them.

And it has been my way to more meaningful, interesting relationships.

It’s hard, and it’s definitely a journey. But definitely worth it.

Thanks for reading me! What about you ? Do you struggle being present ? Is there something you do to practice being more ?