The Magic of Staying Calm & Curious

 In Communication, Relationships

What do you see in the picture? Is it a bird? Or do you see a rabbit?

Our brains are always looking for patterns. We take some information, do a quick analysis, make some assumptions and jump to a conclusion. But what if you’re discussing a project with a colleague at work, you both look at the same data and information, and they see a “bird,” but you see a “rabbit?”

Or what if you’re going on an outing with your partner and they have a very different interpretation of the plans you two made? You thought you had agreed on going on a picnic, but they thought it was a hike with a stop for ice cream.

We think we see (and hear) things as they really are, but the truth is that we are always interpreting the world around us. AND we often interpret it differently than other people because we all have our own unique perspective.

The trouble with these differences is two-fold. First, we like our own perspective. It makes sense to us; we’re comfortable with it; it feels safe. Second, when our perspective feels threatened, it triggers our survival instinct. We can get defensive and go into fight or flight mode.

Your partner wants to go for ice cream when you spent an hour packing a picnic basket? Well! Just forget the whole thing, and let’s go home! Humpf!

One of the things that I’ve learned and teach in my workshops is the magic of staying calm and curious.

Take a breath, pause, and notice yourself getting defensive and frustrated. Then choose to be curious. I wonder why they thought we were going for a hike?

Just imagine how different your tone and words will be if you’re curious instead of frustrated. And then imagine how that will impact their response!! It can mean the difference between a fun and memorable afternoon or friction in your relationship. It can mean the difference between a collaborative and engaging project or stress and conflict at work.

Try staying calm and curious in some simple situations this week and see what a difference it makes.

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