Tag Archives: social

“Listening” by Devon Sweeney & Dr. Eric Pappas

Have you ever taken a step back from your every day conversation to notice your communication habits? You know, how much time you spend talking, and how much others speak in a conversation.  Everyone occupies some part of the conversational spectrum—some of us are always talking, others of us like to keep quiet most of the time.  But have you ever thought about how much you truly listen to others? It’s not that you’re just casually “hearing” others, but are listening with interest to what others are saying?

It’s true that we all sometimes get caught up in our heads, listening to the constant chatter of our own thoughts, and don’t bother to listen in a respectful manner. That chatter can often be so distracting that we can’t fully engage in a healthy conversational flow, because we are so concerned with telling our own story.  It’s just simply not ALWAYS your turn to talk, even though you might think it so.

A good conversation is hard to find.  Some of us might not even really realize what a good conversation consists of.  Conversation requires give and take, and by listening attentively, we can get to know others better.  If one person is dominating the conversation, how can there be a positive and interesting exchange of ideas, opinions, or information?  When someone feels heard, it can be very satisfying. One cannot expect others to hear them if they are not listening to others in the first place.  And don’t we all just love it (and feel valued) when others listen attentively to what we are saying…without changing the conversation to talk about themselves?

Listening is more important to relationships than one might think.  One can always benefit from listening more because it allows the conversation to be rich and more dynamic.  Listening deeply can allow you to get to the real meaning of what a person is saying, instead of just hearing the surface level information.  Connecting with another person through conversation becomes a reality when we can truly tune in.  Relationships grow and strengthen when people learn to listen to each other and converse skillfully and sensitively.

Listening can give us a better understanding of ourselves and others.  So why not pay attention to how well you listen today?  You might be surprised to find that most of us don’t listen that much at all.  It can be a challenge to step back and hold your tongue, but the benefits are great.  It just takes a little effort to get started…by becoming more and more aware of your role in conversations.  You can even begin to be a more skilled conversationalist and steer conversations in different directions, not in a negative manipulative way, but rather in a way that includes enriching or deepening conversations. It makes validates your relationships when you ask your friends about things that interest or concern them. This is common sense, no?

The solution is to become more aware of your contribution and your receptivity in any conversation. What can you learn from being a bit quieter? Try just stepping back and listening more, engaging in lively conversations where you don’t always have to get the last word (or the only words).  Just know, this will lead to big discoveries!  You may learn something new about your friends that you never took the time to hear before.

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Education Motivation – Lauren

For many of us, education is something we’ve always known. We started in kindergarten, maybe preschool, and continued through college. We know a lot about life inside the classroom and little about life outside of it. But have we really ever thought about about our most basic motivations to become educated? People who are intrinsically motivated tend to receive the most value from their education because they are motivated to learn by internal factors like curiosity and seek rewards like satisfaction and knowledge, rather than money or status. Additionally, those who are intrinsically motivated tend to find and follow their passions, which will likely result in an extremely worthwhile career. Be completely honest with yourself when reflecting our your most basic motivation to receive an education; if it’s money, accept that, but try to also reflect on what might intrinsically motivate you. Discovering this could lead to a more enlightened and meaningful life.

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“Technology” by Devon Sweeney & Dr. Eric Pappas

Have you ever taken the time to notice how much you use your cell phone or your laptop? Chances are you spend a good amount of your attention every day with your eyes glued to a screen. So what? It’s the 21st century, it’s innovative that we’re connected in every way. You can access anything or anyone, in ANY place (at ANY time)! Isn’t it fabulous? It can be blessing, but it’s also a curse of modernity…there is a danger in relying on technology as much as we do.

Through the connections we have to our gadgets, we are constantly pummeled with information, photos, calls, text messages, and status updates to the point of INFORMATION OVERLOAD! Seriously, count the ways you are connected. Even take a moment to count the minutes, and hours, you spend with your electronics per day. It might be safe to say that you may have a problem… we all do. Most of us are addicted to technology. It’s a 24/7 habit.

What are the implications of this addiction? We are rewiring our brains to have electronics think for us. This is robbing each one of us of our critical thinking and interpersonal skills that we would be utilizing if it weren’t for the easy out we get in the various forms of laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. One can’t truly unplug or relax when every level of communication comes through a tiny screen that fits in one’s palm. Countless moments are ruined when one person can’t put his or her phone down, and many conversations lose their intention and true meaning when expressed through a text or e-mail (or are interrupted by one). One might say that some of us don’t even know how to say what we want to say in a face-to-face conversation. Might as well just text it, right?

For some people, checking their phones or e-mails is compulsive. Every time an alert goes off, they reach to check out who might be needing their attention next. Sometimes there must be space to pay attention to oneself. Technology robs us of ever being able to really just be alone. Cultivating personal motivation to take care of oneself both physically and mentally requires moments of undivided selfattention. And no, your Iphone is not invited.

If you’re in need of some technology rehab, where do you even start? You could go cold turkey and totally unplug (we don’t recommend this), because seriously, things that change fast often don’t stay that way for long. Start with baby steps, leave your cell phone at home one day in the next week. Try it, how bad could it possibly be? You won’t lose any friends, we promise…but if you do, maybe you were just another nobody on their “Friend List.” You can also just go offline, maybe a few hours before bed and simply enjoy life without being plugged in. Or, take note of your average daily technology intake, and make an effort to cut back an hour or two a day (you decide). Spend your time enjoying the lost art of conversation, reading a book, or just being inside your own head.

So, what are we gaining by taking a break from our electronics? You can gain more time to think and reflect when you’re unplugged. This can help you have more clarity when it comes to decision-making, solving problems, and paying attention to your daily life. Constant connection to technology can be truly emotionally and intellectually draining. Letting go of a few hours you previously spent connected can help you make more progress in other areas of your life, like school, work, relationships, and even the future.

By now you’ve probably admitted that you’re addicted or at least far too dependent upon your gadgets. Unplug? You might be thinking that this is like losing a part of yourself! How will you go on? The trick is to become less dependent upon the “self” you’ve created electronically, and more aware of who you truly are…offline.

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