A General Chat About Awareness
Do you know what the hardest thing is about being self aware?
Being aware that other people aren't self aware.
A definite kick in the teeth. Instead of getting angry I've decided to write a guide to become self aware in the hope that people read it and check themselves (before they wreck themselves). Before we start, I'm 100% certain that I've been 120% guilty of all of these items, so take it from me, it's a learned behaviour and if I can learn - so can you.
1. Get off your damn phone. More. But mainly when you're walking in public. Multitasking is not an actual thing, we only have two eyes and if they're both glued to your screen they are definitely not looking at the crowd getting off the train.
2. Pay some attention. To your environment, your surroundings, people, your teacher, the person talking to you, facial expressions and signals and queues of people.
3. Combine 1 + 2 and learn to become generally more observant. Do you know how freaking amazing people are? Like, fascinating. I'm not going to go into body language but we can learn so much without even saying a word. People watching would have to be most interesting and cheapest way to be entertained, next time you're at a bar put your phone in your pocket and look at the mass of blood bags that manage to somehow co-exist on this rock of ours.
4. Check your attitude. What are you putting out there? Resting bitch face anyone? Come on, this is easy! Remember when teachers harped on about inside voice and outside voice? Same thing, but now with your face. Guess what makes you more attractive and approachable? Smiling. Try it sometime.
5. Look up. I always wonder who buildings are talking to with their signage on the top floor. Do you ever think about how incredible it is to have 20 story buildings just standing there? There is some hard core math, planning and creativity staring right at us. We can get so closed minded when we're surrounded by stuff and people so when you look up it all falls by the wayside.
6. Say hello, say goodbye. We invented words to communicate with each other. While you might feel it's elective, it makes you look like an immature jerk. How hard is it to acknowledge someone? I'll field this one guys; it's not.
7. Ask questions. If after "hello" you find your subconscious stranded on a desert island without your voice box, you could try to ask them how their day was. The beauty of this is that any time of day is a good time, because even if they've only been awake for an hour they've already had about 100 thoughts (and hopefully some coffee) before seeing your mug that they could discuss with you. Wednesdays are a great time to ask someone about their weekend, why? Because there are two options! A genuine toofa (2-4-1, kids) Maybe you want to kick it up a notch and this top level, banal small talk doesn't float your boat or you're just plain shit at it. Why not offer some choice? Almonds or pecans? Of course you can make it weird! Flubber fight or glow in the dark paintball?
8. Hot tips for spatial awareness; look at the space you occupy and show respect for other humans. All the time. You may be the circumference of a street light post but you still take up physical space. You should know where and what your limbs are doing at any given moment. You should realise how your bean pole body is affecting everybody around you. When you're driving on a highway do you blindly careen into the next lane without looking or indicating and still hope to get home safe? Dafuq no. So why would you do it in person on a stairwell, the toilet queue, in the supermarket or on the street?
9. Listening vs talking. We have exactly two ears and one mouth. If our conversations were a healthy meal, listening is the two servings of veg to the one meat serving of talk and eye contact would be the sauce that is liberally used by not over poured.
10. Write a list about some key self awareness items so you can check back on it later and continue to be self aware.
Honestly it's easy.
The hard part is letting someone else know. So send them this list and palm off the blame to me, I'll take one for the team.
(and If I've fucked up, please sweet Jesus say something)