We have two ears and one mouth

I tend to be cut and dry when it comes to learning certain things. I can say I’m a pretty good listener but being an effective listener was another. It didn’t help to have a very logic/analytic brain that I’m quick to problem-solving and not thoroughly aware of the fact that I opine unwantedly and completely be blind to the emotions.

With the help of an actual lynda.com Effective Listening course, I was able to dissect the conversation I had with my partner last night and realize the true focus of the problem. Yes, we had an argument and I took an online course to be better listener. It helps! There are appropriate ways to respond to a speaker and demonstrate how to listen effectively.

Knowing what my strengths and weaknesses were in comes to listening allowed me to focus on the true intention and purpose of listening and start creating good habits.

  • Always and primarily paraphrase the content and emotion of what the speaker has been talking about. Being able to offer a quick summary is the easiest way to show that you have been actively listening. Don’t focus too much on the details, and ask frustrating questions. Don’t make it about yourself. The speaker has been vulnerable enough to come to us. Don’t be quick to criticize and provide advice without being asked. We are always trying to learn something from what the speaker has to say.
  • It’s important to clarify your role as a listener at the beginning of the conversation. Asking the speaker “Do you just want to vent?” or “Are you asking for my advice?” can help us be the listener the speaker needs us to be. We have to be aware of our mental filters, before we start prioritizing what we need to know and start criticizing them about the things that don’t fully align with our thinking.
  • Mirroring is the best way to empathize. By  listening and paraphrasing what we listen to in the similar tone, body language, we start to fully understand the speaker. By sitting in the same posture as they are, we can relate to the emotional state of the speaker.
  • Silence is golden. The quieter you become, the more you can hear. When we sit there in silence, we are to say “I am here with you 100%”.
  • Practice, practice, practice by deliberately practicing we can be effective listeners. Or else, it’ll be really emotionally straining. GUH. Like me rn.

Continue reading “We have two ears and one mouth”

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The Execution of All Things

It was an hour past midnight, New Year’s Eve at a friend’s party. I was grilling a guy about his “startup” idea knowing that he about to move to Seattle, WA. I was jealous. Another app? Riveting. Another guy leaving Milwaukee? That’s great. I always end up asking the same question, “How did you know what you want to do?” A field research staple, collecting data points as though all these answers were going to help me answer that question myself.

In absolute NYE drunk phase, I remember staring at a moving mouth and the sound of his voice and chatter, once fading, were starting to get louder and louder. “What do you want to do? What are you passionate about?” He was staring straight at my blank face. Trying to force out an answer, I took a deep breath and exhaled, “I see all these horrible things in the world, and I realize it was just a guy who chose to do something about it. Well, I have ideas too, and I want to be able to do something with them!”

Simple as that. I finally answered that age-old question, 25 years later.

That’s the long story no one asked for. And that’s why I’m learning how about web development and how to code. It’s more than just the buzzword for me.

I started in healthcare, shuffling between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare facilities, churning out financial reports and dashboard analyses without a lick of intellectual ground and aesthete. I became absolutely immersed in the automaticity and acceptability of my performance. It was great.

But I remained distracted. Certain themes do persist in my habits outside of work, which is where all the play takes part. I always loved to read about the design of everyday things, but I always found it really hard to relate the topics with other people. 80/20 rule? That’s cool. To me, it was mind blowing. There are rules that every single thing in this world obeys and it made the world so beautiful. Similar to the fundamentals of my science background, there were so many elements begging to be broken down into pieces and putting it back together to see something new. (This is the part in my writing where I realize Science is Design!)

Moving to the presidential election, and well, all the shit that has been happening in the world. I was in inspired by the few who were able to be the voice of reason. To be able to be so consumed by the world around them and turn it into their work. What was it that was different about them? They were all designers. Visionaries. The movers and shakers. The ones that make the world a better place.

I simply wanted to take part in changing the world, at least, increase my understanding of how the world works and how or why certain people feel the certain way. The next step to take was learning what tools I needed. It was only necessary and inevitable that I learned how to code. Code is the medium of the digital age. No, the digital age is no longer the future, it’s the present. It’s going to be (and it has been) a big change on the tools I already use.

My journey towards web development, and design and everything that I am not, has only begun but I’ve never felt more motivated and optimistic. The resources and the community of web design may be unlimited and generous, but it’s going to take time, as I learn how to learn and unlearn. It’s been a rough start, it feels like I’m doing some black magic. It’s the web! It holds so much opportunity. A platform to communicate, and of course, to finally execute my ideas.