How You Can Learn From Any Situation

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    81 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    One thing for you to think about

    Nobody is wrong 100% of the time. Always look for the nugget of truth in those you disagree with.

    Nobody is right 100% of the time. Always look for the faults and mistakes in those you agree with.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    A bajillion things for you to ask yourself

    Are you caught in an “echo chamber?” By that, I mean, does your informational diet consist of the same three or four ideas, over and over and over?

    Kevin Kelly says that to be an independent thinker, nobody should be able to guess your opinion about one particular thing based on your opinion of something else. Are you an independent thinker? (Spoiler: almost nobody is.)

    How can you challenge your own ideas and assumptions regularly? How can you seek out and find viewpoints you disagree with, and then challenge yourself to find wisdom and truth in them? Why aren’t you doing this more often?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Challenge your assumptions. Find someone or something that contradicts what you believe, then try to see if you can find some truth to it. Aristotle supposedly said, “The mark of an educated mind is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas without necessarily believing either of them.”

    Can you hold two contradictory ideas in your mind? Can you withhold belief?

    Try it and see. Let me know how it goes.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to be a better listener—of others, but also of yourself. Here’s what some of you heard.

    Karl and his girlfriend shared a beautiful moment:

    Right now I am sitting next to my girlfriend, helping her write her master’s thesis which has been an immense burden for her since she’s been suffering from depression and anxiety. The deadline is around the corner and I am helping her by correcting it, etc.

    But reading your email I thought I’d just ask her how she feels right now in this very moment. So I asked her, calmly, how she felt. She replied by saying what she’s about to do.

    So I asked again: ‘But how do you *feel*?’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Actually, not so bad’ and hugged me with relief. And this little moment of helping her by just being there instead of solving was very important and touching.

    Hate to generalize, but us men tend to be bad at this—simply empathizing and supporting instead of trying to solve our partner’s emotions. It’s something I’ve struggled to get better at over the years.

    Another reader shared how learning to listen better saved his marriage:

    My wife and I dated only eight months before we got married partly because we were so aligned and our communication was so seamless and strong.

    18 months into our marriage and we were confronted with the sobering reality that our communication was actually not very good. We talk and share all the time, but that’s only part of communication.

    What was missing was the understanding on my part that communicating isn’t always, like you said, solving an issue or offering your perspective, rather it is listening and giving space to the person you are communicating with to feel heard and understood.

    I had spent the previous ten years thinking I was emotionally evolved and vulnerable, and that I was an excellent communicator. Turns out that I just really loved to talk and thought people were clamoring to hear my perspective.

    Over the last two months my wife and I have been able to identify this as an area of need in our relationship and our communication has improved by leaps and bounds.

    Moving away from relationships, our next reader began listening to themselves:

    I’ve been feeling stressed for the last few weeks and took a moment to sit with that feeling and see what it actually was.

    As I get more involved in the day-to-day of my business, I can see all the problems, the struggles, the things that aren’t going well. And I feel like it’s my job to somehow fix all of them, and that I’m a failure for not having done so already.

    Listing out all the reasons why I am feeling less than is helpful. Not everything is a problem I have to solve.

    Whatever I fail at on Tuesday, I can fix on Wednesday.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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