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The Experience the Other Person Wants to Have

I know that I'm more self centered than I should be. It's something I work on, not by instructing myself to be less self centered, which is too foggy a command to actually obey, but through specifically defined efforts. One of the more useful ones I've come up with is to stop and think about what experience the other person wants to have.

Maybe for everyone besides me this is an obvious social skill that happens automatically. I've found for me, though, that usually I'm just on autopilot when interacting with others. If anything I think about the experience that I want to have.

Let's say I'm arguing with a friend about something trivial, maybe the best method to book a plane ticket. He has his way, I have mine. If I'm on autopilot, my goal is probably to win the argument. Sounds petty, but I think it's true for a lot of us. If we're in an argument, we try to win. If I think about the experience my friend wants to have, though, that description probably doesn't include losing an argument to me. In fact, it probably doesn't include having an argument at all.

So why is he engaging in an argument that he doesn't want to have? Maybe he figured out a cool trick for booking flights and wants to share it with me, but my pride is preventing me from listening. Maybe he sees me as an authority on travel and wants me to respect his own abilities in that area. Maybe other topics I've been bringing up have been boring and he'd rather be an active participant in an argument than a passive listener of something boring.

Dread and Uncertainty Cause Us to Overestimate How Long Things Take

I'm on a late flight back from Vegas, I didn't get enough sleep, and I'm exhausted. I hadn't done my German tape for the day yet, so I put my headphones in, propped my head against the window, closed my eyes, and did it. I'm sure my neighbor, if she could hear my stilted German mumbles, thought I was crazy.

I finished the tape and the captain announced that we were forty minutes from our destination. Factoring in the time it takes to do the final descent, where I won't be allowed to use my computer, that gives me about fifteen minutes of time to make use of.

My first inclination, tired as I am, is to waste the time. Close my eyes and take a lttle nap, read a book on my phone, listen to some music, or just flip through screens on my phone aimlessly. Fifteen minutes seems way too short for me to write a blog post.

But then I think about how tired I'm going to be if I get home and still have to write the post. Begrudgingly, I whip out the laptop. May as well outline the post or get the intro down or something. Now I've got more of a post written than I thought I'd get done in fifteen minutes.

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