Growth comes from the inside out. Our lives are limited, and our worlds are small. To expand it, we must go beyond ourselves. This means paying more attention to other people, entering their worlds, and really getting invested in them. Focus on being “interested” vs being “interesting.”
We’re all trying to find our place in this world. But in a world full of 7 billion people, it’s hard to stand out. Many of us strive to gain others’ attention, whether in small or large circles; technology is an excellent tool for all of this.
As a disseminator of information, we can market ourselves to whomever we want all over the world. Sometimes the attention given to us lasts years depending on what we do and who we are. For others, it could last just a day.
While receiving attention feels great, what do you think would happen if we started giving more attention instead?
It is natural to talk about ourselves; it is human, after all, to want to be seen, heard, and known. But staying in that bubble in a conversation can display self-absorption and a lack of empathy and concern for others.
On the other hand, being genuinely interested in the person you are conversing with, and their ideas, feelings, and situations make you a better human being! It reveals humility, respect, concern, and empathy – an altogether good heart.
When you are concerned about others, you are freed from the need to make yourself memorable. Isn’t it fascinating that what makes a person more interesting is that he is interested in others?
In this digital age, being self-absorbed can consume us; but seeking attention is self-serving and never satisfies. When you learn to live outside of your own little world, you will feel more energized.
On another level, being interested can be an attitude towards life that enables you to graduate from the preoccupation to make yourself interesting. Being interested is about approaching life with wonder and this world with compassion.
Personally, I think we should all “be interested” in general: interested in living a good life, in continual learning and development, in books, art, science, travel, new experiences, in what’s going on in the world, in different points of view, and so on.
After all, when we’re interested in many things, there’s a better chance we will be more equipped to take an interest in what others have to say. And, in turn, we’ll also have something interesting to add to the conversation to keep it going, expanding, and deepening.
It also means involving yourself in ideas greater than yourself – from the arts to sciences to even philosophy. Keep expanding your curiosity and discover new things. When we’re interested in many things, there’s a better chance we will be more equipped to take an interest in what others have to say. And, in turn, we’ll also have something interesting to add to the conversation to keep it going, expanding, and deepening.
When you take an interest in others and in the bigger world outside yourself, you will get to see the world through a whole new different lens.
All these must start from a heart that genuinely wants to invest. It may be difficult at first, especially if you are the kind of person who tends to focus on yourself, but it is not impossible.
Reflect on this Bible verse: Philippians 2:4, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”