Figuring out where things went wrong

If you find yourself regularly having conversations that don’t go as planned, in the sense that the outcome you intended wasn’t achieved (or you just end up getting frustrated) it’s worth taking the time to figure out where things went wrong.

Sometimes, it is a simple case of two people with different perspectives not being willing to listen to each other.

Other times it could be that before you get into the meat of the conversation you need to establish what the purpose is, to avoid going off track.

So often it’s easy to blame the other person, to say that the issue is that they weren’t listening. But, maybe there are things that you can do differently even if it is simply walking away from the conversation earlier and choosing to not engage with the person.

You don’t want to find yourself in a cycle of getting swept up in a conversation you don’t actually want to be in.

And, maybe you simply picked the wrong person to have a conversation with.

If that’s the case, use your past experience as a learning point to realise that you need to have this conversation with someone else next time.

Running out of patience

Being patient is a hopeful thing. It’s often done hoping that sooner or later things will change.

Sure you can scream and shout for what you want and to be heard by others. But often you just end up being ignored. People will focus on the fact that you scream and shout, not the reason you’re doing it. In fact they’ll gladly forget all about it.

And so you choose patience and you wait full of hope for things to change.

But when patience runs out, it’s hard to figure out what next.

How do you make yourself heard, when people don’t want to listen?

You should take your own advice

One of the easiest ways to gain trust is by doing exactly what you tell others to do.

People are much less likely to listen to what you say if it’s not what you do.

And that’s why I’m careful about the advice I give and the words I share, the truth is I’m still working on all of it.

But I’ve tried it which is why I’m comfortable telling you to try it.

But people that sit around dishing out advice that they themselves don’t practice, those people might not be worth taking seriously because if they don’t even take the advice they give, why should you.

Why shouting might not get the message across

The talker may assume the louder my voice the more they’ll understand what I’m saying,  or maybe they feel like you’re not listening so they have no choice but to shout.

Nobody likes being shouted at and so the listener instead of focusing on the message will focus on the fact that you’re shouting and probably even be closed off to even trying to understand you.

People associate being shouted at with having done something wrong, it’s something associated with parents and teachers.

There’s not much use in shouting to try and get someone to listen, try simply talking instead.

But always remember, no matter how important you think your message is, you can’t force people to listen.

Telling stories and being heard

Growing up I had quite a few occasions where when I would try to speak up about something it was either dismissed or I could clearly tell that the other person wasn’t listening. Through that I learnt to talk less and be more closed off.

Recently, I realised that I had carried this childhood experience into my adult life. That belief became part of my subconsciousness. I would go around with this story that people weren’t listening, it became a sort of self fulfilling prophecy because I had stopped giving people the chance.

But on the flip-side, it meant that when I did open up it came with too much meaning because it was such a rare thing. I can honestly say that that factor has put a lot of pressure on relationships I’ve had.

So now, moving forward with this gift of self awareness, I’m making a conscious effort to be more open. I’m working towards being less anxious and not writing things off before I’ve even given them a go.

I’ve met so many people who I, suppose I judged initially and didn’t open up to but I’ve later come to find that those same people are the ones I actually have a lot in common with.

For me though, it’s not just about giving other people the chance. It’s about giving myself a chance to step outside of old habits, patterns and stories that I tell myself.

Seth Godin once said something like ‘if the story you’re telling yourself isn’t working tell a new one’, i think that’s some pretty useful advice.