Giving and receiving undivided attention, even briefly, is the least that one individual can do for another -- and sometimes the most. And yet, attending to others doesn't just help them -- it helps us, by evoking responses that help the listener feel cared for, useful, and connected to the larger world.
Some of the most successful people in the world are some of the hardest working people. Once these people reach "success" they don't stop -- they keep on going -- their passions, desires and drive keep them motivated and inspired to do more, help more and give more. So tune into your desires, passions and drive. What fuels your work ethic?
It's true that because of local and global inequalities most women I lived among in our village in Nepal didn't have the means to broadcast their voices far. But they still had voices -- many voices: loud, kind, gruff, joyful, argumentative, funny, critical, quiet, curious, smart, compassionate, teasing. I just had to learn some lessons on how to tune in better.
Allowing others to shine a light on our blind spots, particularly with respect to our faults, teaches us how to become better conversationalists, better listeners, and ultimately, better people in general. What we learn about our blind spots may not always be pleasant, but it can open up a whole new world we never even knew existed.
This should be obvious, but there are so many people out there who seem to forget how much of a difference kindness can make. When people are kind to each other, it's contagious. Kindness breeds kindness, and there's nothing wrong with that. I believe it takes more energy to be unkind, so why bother?