Lessons I Learn By Interviewing People
Most of us consider taking up a course, acquiring new skills, polishing the old ones, for a path that we envision for ourselves, at some point or the other. Some people often indulge in higher studies for focused attention and better outcomes. And some read books while others turn to YouTube videos on a range of information and knowledge. Everyone has a way, to be better, or at least strive to become a better version of themselves. I strongly believe that it's a journey we embark upon, not a short-term hustle.
What really motivated me to interviewing people was the thought of getting to know them and understand the inspiration in their story. However, I never dreamed of the magnitude of learning that would follow from each conversation, and how each individual would help me become a better person.
I could see a unique opportunity in these conversations, which no course or institution can match. Learning with listening. The good, the bad, the bold, the beautiful, and the ugly.
Today, I would love to share a few things that I have learned by interviewing people:
Art Of Listening: There are two ways to understand a story. One is by listening to it so that you can find the moments you identify with and give your opinion because you feel you resonate with the story. The other way is choosing to listen, being open to the idea that it might be universal in many ways but at the same time, how very unique and extraordinary. I got interested in the latter because it leaves room for imagination, leaves behind a thought, and gives me the space to answer a few questions that would have been unresolved for long. The very idea that "you are not in someone else's shoes" is powerful enough to shake our complacencies, self-inflated egos, prejudices, and biases. This very idea also empowers you to walk outside your bubble, and get inspired by the individual on the other side.
More than anything, the act of listening, and listening well, not leaving any chance to shut up, has helped me in sharing the power of people I get to interview, with the world. The satisfaction is joyful and unmatched. I get to celebrate you, your story.
Ability to understand the Vulnerabilities: We are humans and we all have our weaknesses. We are not very comfortable discussing openly, everything that makes us fragile, or vulnerable. What the world sees on the surface is how successful you are or how big a failure you have been. There are clear benchmarks and standards.
Having these conversations on the podcast - The Story Bar has allowed me to walk beside a person, and share his pain as well. A history of trauma, childhood abuse, family disputes, personal & professional disappointments, unfulfilled dreams & desires, lost love, and so much more. Yet, the individual has emerged stronger and better from it. This is what I find extraordinary, a true celebration of the human spirit.
Roots In The Family: Whether we choose to belong or not, we all have a family, the one that begins to shape and influence us, right from the day we come into this world. Yes, it's very much debatable if the influence has been a positive one, but you can't argue upon its overwhelming presence in our lives.
In these conversations, when people open up their hearts and share the learning from within the family culture and values, it gives me an intimate insight into who they are. It's enigmatic at times, and also, heartbreaking. There's so much that everyone carries with themselves, away from the sight of the public eye, the spotlight.
For me, interviewing someone can never be simply a set of questions based on thorough background research. It's so much more than that. More complex and profound.
Since I decided to talk to people, learn about their journey, I need to let them be themselves, give them a platform where they are not judged, a comfort through which they can talk about the ugliest parts of their story, and most importantly, the space to share without being interrupted with my own thoughts, philosophies, ideologies, beliefs, and opinions. This is what I strive to do as a podcast host at The Story Bar, and as a storyteller.
In a series of articles here, I will be sharing my learnings and inspiration with you. Hope this helps you reflect and gain a perspective on these conversations. Your thoughts are always welcome!