A while back I was listening to a podcast about self development and motivation. During this podcast Richard was speaking about a recent coastal holiday he had gone on with some friends and family. Ive just got permission to publish on my blog a link to his website. Its definitely worth to check it out. Check out his website here Motivate yourself – Richard Nicholls
One night Richard went to a pub with one friend. They had been informed of a pub that played blues music and has a nice atmosphere. When they were in the pub they got talking to some strangers who they had never met before. A 76 year old Jamaican clarinet player, A guy that calls himself “sandy man” that draws pictures on the beech for donations and refuses to claim benefits and a guitarist that sounded like “Mark Knopfler” that got the place buzzing. For a few weeks later Richard and his friend would continuously talk about this one night, This one night out of the whole holiday. During the podcast Richard continues to explain why this night was so memorable and it concludes that social interaction is important.
When I had finished listening to the podcast it got me thinking about myself and how I have been socially interacting with the world around me for the past few years. I refer to London again as when I was in London my lifestyle consisted of working, eating, sleeping and repeating. I look back now when I was in London I consistently closed myself off from people and world around me. Once again I had this massive bubble inside my head filling up with memories and ideas. One topic that got me really interested was “What if social interaction could help against mental illness”, Social interaction is not something that I have ever been thought in school, Its something everyone is left to figure out for themselves and whether it is important for them or not. You either interact with people or you don’t I guess..? right? But then after I had listened to that podcast it really made me realise its importance.
On your next journey commuting to or from work (providing you travel with public transport) or jest next time you use public transport – Just pause for a moment and have a look around you. Examine the people around you, What are they doing? I would be surprised if not at least 50% of those people are either on their phones or have music in there ears or reading a book or have their heads buried into their chest. Don’t get me wrong all these things are important too and Im not exactly the type of person that wants to draw up a massive conversation on my way to work early in the morning or in the evening when I am tired. But maybe their is a person on that journey with you who would enjoy to have a conversation with you, which is a little difficult if we are closed off from our surroundings.
Its debatable that all this new technology and social networks, Insta this and twitt that has us completely submerged in a constant digital conversation. While we are in this digital conversation on our smartphones or tablets we are completely oblivious to who or what is happening around us. Now without me being hypocritical about myself, I love technology and I enjoy all the social networks that are out there, How could I say anything else Im writing this blog on my Mac using the internet and a website to publish it. But at the same I am on a learning curve now that is teaching me that physical social interaction is so much more important and valuable than digital. A simple conversation with a person face to face can radiate energy, We can read their body language and we can hear their tone of voice, Something we cannot do 100% when reading text.
This all sounds well and good but unless I practice it I will never improve. Its like learning one song on guitar and then never playing again – The next time you pick up that guitar you won’t suddenly be able to play a list of other songs. Same goes for everything in life I think, the more we practice something the better and easier we get at it. Ok… So how have I practiced social interaction you ask..?
After I had listened to that podcast I immediately set out and tried to interact with people more often. I went and got my monthly train ticket that day and instead of just going into the office asking for my ticket, Hello – thanks – goodbye. I asked the lady behind the counter how her day was going? I also asked if its always this busy here. I was amazed to find out how happy she (and myself) was just to have a more social interaction. That same day when I was almost home I had to wait a while for the bus. Their was an old lady sitting beside me smiling. I drew up a conversation about how cold it was getting and the lady was delighted to talk to me. I don’t intend to ever see people going round drawing up conversations at every opportunity just to make it clear but it seems that there is an invisible barrier being built by ourselves that is slowly cutting off the blood supply for Human interaction.
I have continued going about my days trying to get more involved in what is happening around me and I am amazed about the positive effects it has had on me so far. I have met and heard more stories than ever before.
Yesterday was Saturday. I woke up tired, actually, I woke up very tired. I had gone to a meetup group the night before and didn’t get to bed until 2am. My plan was to go to a market early in the morning but I woke up a little later than expected. I still made it to the market and just as I was on my way home I could hear a guy playing guitar and singing magnificently across the street. I went over a listened and just got a little submerged in the beauty of the music. I sat down, The sun was hitting me like a spotlight and I could feel this amazing positive energy from just being in that moment. After listening for roughly 40 minutes the guy took a little break and I immediately went up and gave him my positive opinion about the music. We talked for a good 15 minutes. He is also from Ireland, got a little fed up with things there and has traveled around Europe busking and making money. We also discovered that our taste in music is very similar. We exchanged contact details and are going to meet again in the near future. I just find these sort of encounters amazing as everybody has a choice in life, I could of easily just listened and walked away and continued on the way home.
I think social interaction is also about being in the moment. If you have ever heard of Mindfulness Meditation you will know what I mean and if not then its also a very interesting topic to check out online. I recall a story my Godfather told me on Thursday. He had read and saw photos in a newspaper. Long story short – The photo was of somewhere in the Canary Islands, A boat had just stranded on the beech with refugees. These people had just travelled thousands of miles to be washed up on some foreign shore. All this was happening and was completely ignored by the thousands of tourists on this same beech. I feel we are living in a world where power and self importance are the erroneous main qualities we need to survive. What has happened to empathy..? Why can we not see what is happening a round us right now right at this moment?
Without me going to far off the beaten track there is one other story that I would like to share with you. Ive just talked about what I think the importance of social interaction is but I think its also relevant for me to express how powerful social influences can be.
When was the last time you encountered someone or spoke with someone that really just annoyed you for the rest of the day? Or.. When was the last time something very small about your travels annoyed you ? Ok…. To make it easier the last time for me was when I had a 10am appointment and needed to get the 8:55am bus. The bus didn’t come until 9:10. My appointment wasn’t a life or death situation but it left me a little bit stressed that the bus came late. It also left me rushing a little which added to the whole stress. I like being on time and I still made it to my appointment on time that day. So what was with all the stress about the late bus ? I had already created the story that I was going to be late. I was not in the moment on that journey. We can only control what is here and now at this very moment, We don’t know what will happen so much a single second into the future, we also cannot control what has happened in the past. I see it daily people get annoyed by the simplest of things and we let our emotions get the better of us.
We are the only ones who control how we are feeling in the present moment. Influences come daily from people and objects around us that tempt us to loose our stability. Luckily we have a choice how we act upon it.
Thanks for reading. I want to say thank to all the positive feedback I have received already regarding my first blog post. If you would like to get in contact or share your opinion please use the contact form below. 🙂 You can now also get my blog delivered to you by email after every new post. Just enter your email address at the very bottom of this page and click follow. Happy Sunday!