Don’t Forget to Listen

When was the last time you listened, really listened? Some people go through their days and never listen at all. They talk. When someone is talking to them, rather than really listening, they’re only preparing to respond.

They forget the #1 rule of listening. To listen is to be silent.

Listen. Silent.

Interesting that the two words are anagrams of one another. We can’t do the first without the second.

Talking is easy. Listening is difficult. Yet, it is only by listening that we really learn — learn what our clients’ needs are — learn to be a better friend, better spouse, better parent, better human being. And, by listening, we learn to truly appreciate the world around us.

As a musician, I’ve learned that listening makes me better at my musical craft. When I listen, really listen to my fellow musicians, on or off the stage, that’s when I really learn, really improve.

And, by truly listening, I am able to understand more about my favorite composer, J.S. Bach. Each and every time I listen to a work by Bach, I learn something new.

Don’t forget to listen.

Breathe New Life Into Your Writing in 5 Easy Steps

Writing.jpgDo you feel your writing getting stale? Or that writing isn’t as fun as it used to be?

If so, here are 5 Simple Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Writing:

  1. Get out of your “usual” workspace. New ideas often sprout from new environments. Deliberately mix it up by hanging out at a different coffee shop or ‘drop in’ co-working space. These days, most of us have a multitude of spots from which to choose.
  2. Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Yeah, schedules and routines are wonderful, but for creative new ideas to happen, we often need to disrupt our normal circadian rhythm.
  3. ‘Write’ using a different digital device. Just the feel of a different ‘touch’ under our fingers can allow for content to flow in a lively new way.
  4. Write first; edit later. Rather than immediately editing yourself as you write, just let the words flow. Don’t be concerned with misspellings or grammar issues — just write. Creation and editing should be two separate activities.
  5. Write with abandon. Write more than you need. Just let the words and ideas flow. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find yourself with enough content to fill multiple blog posts, instead of your intended single post.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am practicing these tips as I write this and, I have to say, it feels a bit radical…simple, even.

by Rebecca Cochran

Is Gray a Color?

Color

Having just read Meghan Flaherty’s eloquent piece, Ode to Gray in the Paris Review, I’ve been thinking about color again. Flaherty makes numerous points in favor of gray. She refers to gray as “the color, rather than the sound, of silence.”

Flaherty cites numerous others’ disparate thoughts on gray. She refers to a color psychology article, stating that “grey is emotionless.” She quotes the French painter, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres who said, “Better gray than garishness.” And, she shares, “Paul Klee called it the richest color, “the one that makes all the others speak.”

She also writes that, “according to Eva Heller, in her Die wahre Geschichte von allen Farben, only 1 percent of people surveyed named gray as their favorite color.” Contrast that with blue. Supposedly, half the people on earth list blue as their favorite color.

In one of my earlier posts entitled, The Lure of BlueI wrote about what draws my eye towards blue. Truth be told, nearly every article of clothing I own is blue. My office walls are blue. My automobile is blue.

Hmm…maybe I’ve been taking the easy way out all this time…

After reading Flaherty’s excellent article, I vow to seriously think through the possibility of gray being an actual color. I may even introduce a few bits of gray into my wardrobe because, after all, gray pairs so well with blue…

by Rebecca Cochran