There’s this amazing poet and philosopher, Allen Jesson, who’s got lots of secrets to share. Here’s one of his 77: when traveling, ditch the earphones and strike up a conversation!
The Conversation Secret
By Allen Jesson
I’m one of those annoying blokes on the plane. If you look half interesting and I’m not too tired, I will strike up a conversation with you. It’s fairly easy to do and if you’re a good talker, I’m a good listener. I’ve had some truly wonderful conversations and I can remember discussing God, the Universe, love, family, work, gardening, in fact, you name it, I’ve discussed it with (what were) total strangers. You will find that whoever you sit next to, will have a lot more in common with them than you can possibly imagine.
I think this ’striking’ up a conversation was a fairly natural thing to do. It appears that during the Olympics and the World Cup and other big events that conversations between strangers dramatically increase on public transport. Yes, people just start talking to each other. Go figure.
But what happens on the normal day to day? It all stops. People put on their iPods, read their papers or just stare into space. Underground trains are the worst, the silence on those is almost deafening.
Air travel is no different. On most mid haul planes now there is ‘in seat’ entertainment. So instead of talking to the person next door, people put on their earphones and watch the latest movie or play the latest ’shoot them up’.
There is nothing wrong with all that. It’s all progress. But along the way, we are losing the art of conversation. Who’s the big loser in all of that? You. Yes, talking is a great way to ‘off load’. Listening is a great way to ‘understand’ and broaden your perspectives. Conversing is a great way to learn. It’s how you can take the cork out of your bottled up feelings.
So, this is my advice to you: Start a conversation. With a friend, with a colleague, with a stranger. Then with two ears and one mouth, exchange your views on any number of subjects. Find some common ground and then dig together. Before you know it, your journey will be over and I promise, at the end of it, you will feel very different indeed.
All the very best,
Poet and Philosopher