What is a conversation?
No really. What is the point of a conversation? It seems like such a rudimentary simple question, but I honestly believe most people give very little thought to this question which is funny considering how much of our lives we engage in them.
In it's essence I believe a conversation is three things: statements, humor, and stories.
The big choice is what statements, humor, and stories you tell to others when conversing with them. It's here that things get more nuanced.
Before I enter into a conversation, I try my best to actively think about where I would like the conversation to go. If I know the person, I ask what types of things I know they are interested in. When was the last time we talked? What statements, humor, or stories can I give them that they would resonate or find meaningful?
Often, I pull up the person page I have for them inside of my Obsidian vault and glance over the things I journaled about them in my last few times seeing them.
If I don't know them I ask myself what I'm seeking in the conversation. Am I looking for a new friend? Am I looking for a possible date? Am I looking for a study buddy? Do I just want to talk?
It might seem strange to think this deeply about conversations this way but I think it only makes sense. I believe the quality of your relationships are the single biggest factor in determining the quality of your life.
Most people I know don't think about their conversations nearly enough. They just kind of, well, wing it. They go into conversations with no purpose or thinking beforehand.
You know what this leads to?
God awful endless conversations about the weather and how much sleep you got last night. Small talk.
Of course there is a time for small talk but all the time?
I would rather die.
Here's my suggestion. Next time you get in a conversation with someone and they ask you how your day or week has been, don't answer with an itinerary of your day. Rather, think of some statement, humor, or story that will add something meaningful to the world.
By becoming more aware of how you carry yourself in conversation the world can become a more interesting place.
You have an obligation to be entertaining. Anytime you are interacting with someone, you are taking away their time to speak with them.
It's your job to make it worth it.
The world is full of boring people. But through the power of great conversation you can make it so much more.
I genuinely believe you can turn most meetings, dinner conversations, study sessions, and more into an enjoyable experience. What it takes is understanding how to converse.
Here's what I would like to share this week.
📸News From The Channel!
How I Write Conceptual Lecture Notes in Obsidian: Most students are never taught how to take effective notes that they can use even after the semester is over. In this video, I discuss how I use Obsidian to take lecture notes that stay make my knowledge unique and stay with me over years and years. I explain the dangers of bad notetaking and how to use my notetaking method, conceptual notemaking, before, during and after class.
😐The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (Mark Manson): The essential dilemma of life comes with deciding where to put your limited number of fucks. Ironically the better I have become at productivity the more I realize putting more fucks in less things is the way to go. Happiness is not something you achieve but rather an activity that comes with aligning your values with action and solving the problems that mean the most to you. While you can't control all the events that happen to you, you are always responsible for reacting to those events.
Chris Lastovicka: Expressing Creativity and Researching Shame With Obsidian: Chris Lastovicka is a web designer at Cornell University in the College of Engineering and a former musician. They use Obsidian to delve into their research interest in Buddhism, systems thinking, and emotion. We discuss the emotion of shame and how MOC creation in Obsidian could help people do research more effectively and intimately. We discuss using system thinking to create a notemaking system that sparks your creativity rather than driving it into the muck.
💡My Best Insights:
📖Book - Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks: This is my third time reading this book and it's still one of the best I have ever read. Telling great stories is one of the best ways to make the world a more interesting place. And most people suck at it. Luckily, this book explains not only why you should tell stories, but how to find, craft, tell, and practice them as well.
✍️Blog Post - A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden: A digital garden is a website with notes organized primarily by links and context rather than time. For example, my Obsidian vault (if I published it) is a digital garden. This puts a promotion on following your curiosity and wonder instead of what is most new, something that most other information mediums get backwards.
🎙️Podcast - 06 - Slaying the Dragon Within Us: Often times, the bad things that happen to use stem from uncertainties and fears we ignored that grew into something greater. We should deal with these uncertainties and fears before they have time to grow into something greater. This is a conflict that humans have been juggling for thousands of years. In fact, the dragon myth stems from it. Think about what a dragon is. It's a terrifying creature that hoards a bunch of treasure often alongside a princess. In other words, it's an uncertainty or fear that holds what you want until you confront it.