I was contemplating myself the other day, my favorite subject, I am sorry to say. Go ahead and admit it, you do the same—contemplate yourself. You are just as infatuated and preoccupied with your own life as I am with mine—we all are. We are, after all, such interesting people. We all listen to station WIII-FM (What Is In It For Me) pretty often. I have concluded that I play it too loud too often.

Lately, I have concluded that I should turn that station down a bit. Better yet, implement a station reprogram. Maybe WIII-FM could be What Is In It For Mark (or Michelle). Who is Mark or Michelle? I don’t know. The point is they are not me, they are someone else.

What would happen if I, you, started to listen to the vibes and signals being sent off by other human beings in this world? What if we took the time to tune into and listen to their story, their concerns, their dreams, their aspirations, and their fears? Perhaps we might find something as interesting in another person we find in ourselves. Maybe even more interesting—okay, I am pushing it. Even so, when I think about it, I am a lot happier when I can get out of my own head and stop being so preoccupied with myself.

There is a joy in tuning into others and listening to their story, to their music—if for no other reason than you get to forget about your own concerns for a while. But it goes deeper. When we connect with someone else, we begin to really live. We begin to hear music we ourselves could never play, music that enriches our lives in ways we alone could not.

As much as I like myself—or that I am preoccupied with myself—I think happiness is often found tuning into another’s station, listening to their playlist. I think I am going to do that more often. What about you?

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Jeff Vanek Human. Nature. & Culture ,