Learning · Psychology · Relationships

Practical philosophy and taking responsibility for our communication

Alain de Botton is a wonderful modern day philosopher with a very practical take on modern life emphasising how we can be emotionally healthy.

He has done quite a few podcasts on many different topics, all well worth listening to.

In this one he talks a little about his background and a wide variety of perspectives. I am just going to pick out a few of points that hit home for me in the context of relationships, difficult (in fact any) conversation and succeeding in life:

1. How we communicate effectively

Ferriss asks what he is working on to improve himself. His answer is “To communicate properly.” And he then goes on to explain what communicating properly means:

“Not communicating properly is not properly teaching others about myself, what I am feeling, what I would like, what’s bothering me. And instead of properly communicating merely acting out and symbolizing things and expecting to be understood. To not imagine that those around me can mind-read what’s on my mind. They won’t know what I feel unless I tell them. They won’t hear me unless I speak in a certain way. If I am agitated and get annoyed that immediately shuts off communication. If I blame them or humiliate then the message will get lost. Simply exploding, blurting out or emoting is usually the worst way.

Trying to learn to be a better teacher and a better student of others. As a student of others, to learn to listen properly, to interpret, learn to hear what is not being said, what is beneath the surface.”

Imagine if we were all able to really do this… how much richer our relationships and world would be.

2. The assumptions we jump to when others are communicating with us:

We easily take offence or jump to a conclusion about their intentions (especially liable to happen in email!):

“Never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence, busyness or anxiety.”

3. The definition of a successful person

“A successful person is someone who has taken hold and fathomed their talents, and reconciled themselves to their weaknesses. They are not ranting and raging about the weaknesses, they have a sense of what they are, they are not blaming the world for them, they know them and they own them. They have a sense of their strengths and have made something of their strengths.”

Notice how much of the quote is focused on the acceptance of our own weaknesses as a key to success

Here is the podcast:

[The Tim Ferriss Show] #118: How Philosophy Can Change Your Life, http://podplayer.net/#/?id=41538895 via @PodcastAddict. Find out more about some of his teachings via The School of Life, at https://www.theschooloflife.com/london/about-us/ and on video at https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel

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