Just shut up and listen

. 1 min read

Imagine yourself enjoying an amazing rare steak with chorizo butter in a restaurant with some family. The food is delicious and makes you feel good. The topics of conversation are all over the place and you take a break from the divine steak whenever you're needed to contribute to the talk.

But eventually, the entire steak is in your stomach, and you can't escape the conversation into the food. You actually have to look at the people speaking, nod, smile, and try your best to stay in good terms with them by not voicing your opposing views about politics and a healthy diet.

Because you know it won't do any good. You fear they might begin to resent you, and with family, it's hardly a good thing. So you nod, smile, and shut up, while the person tells you how the country should be more socialist, and how replacing a fatty steak with oatmeal will prevent type II diabetes.

And even if you did tell them you were a libertarian and a carnivore and why, what good would that do? Do you think it would make them suddenly agree with you politically and turn their backs on dietary advice that's been fed to them for decades?

You'll learn so much more by just shutting up and listening to them. It's like a psychology experiment: if you don't say a word, they'll tell you everything you need to know about them. Everything.

Gain perspective. Gain insight. Gain a clearer world-view.

(And gain a Dostoevskian character for your next book. )