I'm older than Scotch tape. And it was invented in 1930.
I've lived through the Great Depression and served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.
At 90 and ¾, I only date women who like antiques.
I believe in peace on earth and kindness to everybody.
But don't get the wrong idea.
This blog post is no bowl of Cream of Wheat.
In fact, it may change your life.
So here's my warning: All complacent thinkers should exit now, taking with them all dull people who view themselves as unchangingly chiseled from a hunk of marble. Those leaving will find a handy "X" in the right hand corner of the screen.
Are they gone? Good.
Now, here's the plain truth:
We don't talk about the things we care about most. As a result, we crimp our own lives.
Here's a story.
The other day, I had a business lunch with a couple half my age. He was 6'4", attractive, articulate and very knowledgeable in his field.
She was bright and extraordinarily pretty. They have four kids and seemed to be living the American dream.
I asked the woman to tell me five things that were important about her husband. She said some nice things. Then I took a risk by saying, "What is the quality you'd like your husband to change?" She said she'd like him to be a little more thoughtful in a particular situation. Then I asked her husband if he would give me five key characteristics of his wife. He was very loving in what he said.
In the space of 30 minutes, the lunch had moved from introductions to revelations -- from formality to friendly understanding. We ended up discussing a hundred details about their relationship. Few things are more interesting. Who doesn't like to hear a love story? By the time we ordered dessert, we were no longer acquaintances, but budding friends.
In a world where loneliness is epidemic, where a keyboard and the Internet pass for human connection, the simple act of asking about another's passions or loved ones can bring light and joy into our lives.
Talking about things that matter in our personal lives can open the door to deeper relationships with people we love as well as those we've only just met.
And if you still have doubts, try this exercise. Ask any couple you know to tell the story of how they fell in love. Ask them individually, but in the presence of their partner. Let them correct each other's versions. And watch their interaction. Afterwards, you be the judge of whether you've gained any insights and whether they feel any differently towards you.
Fascinating stories walk by us every day or sit across from us at a business meeting or the dining table or in the classroom. Do we dare ask a question that invites connection? Do we dare say "What would you change about your life, if you could?" Do we ask: "What do you really care about?"
Try it. All you have to lose is your sense of isolation.