Commonplace Book # 10

“Much of our satisfaction in life depends on our skills in connecting with other people – skills of dialogue we might call them.” – Bonnycastle, Stephen. In Search of Authority pg 23

Connecting with people is a skill? Does that mean that we can learn how to do it better? I think it does. This quotation is brilliant because it opens up a whole new way of thinking. If dialogue is a skill, that means we can develop it. Any good skill comes with practice and effort. How many of us actually try to get better at dialogue?

I know that it took me a long time to learn how to listen to people. I still don’t do it very well. I am often too caught up in my own thoughts to truly listen. I sometime am thinking of what I want to say instead of actually listening to the other person. I sometimes monopolize the conversation. I sometimes come across as authoritative. I know that these things actually cut me off from connecting with other people.

The other interesting thing about this entry in my commonplace book is the author’s use of the word satisfaction. I know that happiness often comes down to family and friends. In this life, I don’t think there are two more important things. Yet he says that happiness comes from how we connect with other people. Which leads me to ask, what makes a friend a friend? Is it the way that we connect with them? Is that related to dialogue or is there a lot more going on? I don’t know. But in the meantime, I can be more aware of my skills in this area and try to improve them. After all, it couldn’t hurt.

4 Comments on Commonplace Book # 10

  1. Chase, it sounds like you’ve been reading Plutarch — his essays on learning how to listen as well as on what makes the difference between a real friend and a mere flatterer.

  2. I actually haven’t read anything by him. I guess I should.

  3. For being such an old, old book, written at the peak of the Roman Empire, Plutarch’s Moralia is surprisingly relevant to our modern society.

    The essay in it that I read last was about the importance of actually listening to people, of seeking the gold in another’s speech, of being a disciplined audience.

    And the essay that I am reading tonight tries to show the difference between a true friend and someone who’s just in a relationship for the benefits.

    Good luck finding it in your local bookstore, though. I had to special order it and wait forever.

  4. I found this book online. You can read the whole thing here,

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=2YQt82klqecC&dq=plutarch+moralia&pg=PP1&ots=DVB97rocE9&sig=H725U24dy0qaWYqz8mOecdcyfiU&prev=http://www.google.ca/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3Dplutarch%2Bmoralia%26meta%3D&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail

    If I had the Internet at home, I would read it. It is a long work though so I probably won’t be able to read it online anytime soon.

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