The everyday activities of the 21st century human consist largely of staring at screens, typing, and talking—in that order. From Google to Alexa to email, technology teaches us to seek, to search, to ask, to demand.
But what about the lost art of listening? This episode explores empathy—and how looking up from your phone, talking to strangers, saying hello to a neighbor—can expand your imagination and your world.
My guest is the graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton, who makes an art of listening to—and profiling—people from unsung communities. As she does in her book Meanwhile in San Francisco, a love letter to the patchwork personalities of the Bay Area, and on a regular basis for the back page of California Sunday Magazine.
We talk about the huge mindset shifts that can happen when you let down your guard and truly open yourself up to other people’s experiences.
Key takeaways from the conversation:
- Why listening is a form of empowerment
- How to bring more empathy and imagination into your daily interactions
- The benefits of shutting up and taking the spotlight off yourself
- How drawing can help you listen better and hone your attention
- Little ways to jumpstart conversations with strangers