I don’t remember the exact date, but I do know it happened in the month of September 2008.
Little did I know that a passing conversation with my friend Timo Wadhavan of Heartwood Studios will unlock the secret to have enriching conversations at will.
Timo shared a wise old saying –
A tourist will always find what he or she is looking for.
I reflected on that one saying for several weeks after that.
One day, magic happened.
When I applied that saying to a different content.
I discovered something that changed my life.
I discovered that the secret to having enriching conversations was to expect brilliance by default.
No, I was not expecting brilliance from me.
But, I started expecting brilliance by default from the other person.
The magic started unfolding.
I became more curious than ever.
I turned into an eternal student.
More importantly, I started listening. Really listening.
I didn’t know when exactly brilliance would show up.
I had to be prepared.
I knew that waiting was necessary.
I was prepared to wait right until the end of the conversation.
That was OK.
Because, if I find a brilliant nugget in every single conversation, I will have no problem in enriching myself in the process.
I literally became a connoisseur of brilliance.
Timo talked about the tourist finding what he was looking for. I became that tourist who looked for brilliance in every conversation.
Boy… what a journey it has been.
I did find brilliance.
Boatloads of it.
In almost every conversation.
I was looking for it.
It got better as time progressed.
I had very less to speak in a conversation.
Most of my time was spent listening.
When I did get my opportunity to speak, I started choosing my words carefully.
I chose to speak only if it was absolutely necessary.
My focus was to get back to listening.
How else would I find that brilliance by default if I were not ready and listening?
More magic happened during the process.
When the other person knew that I was “truly” listening in a mood of wonder, he or she opened up more – bringing out their best.
Last, but not the least…
I know I still have a long way to go, but I am learning and making progress every single conversation.
Try for yourself and I am confident that you will be glad you did!
Quick Announcement: If you are around San Francisco, please join me at this event organized by TiE. Here is the link: