Can poetry help you land your dream job – part II

poetry_dreamjob

In the first part of these blog series we discussed the benefits of writing poetry in realm of developing positive identity narrative which can lead us to closer picture and knowing what we want to do in life.But what about when it comes to other people’s poetry? How that can help us achieve our career goals? Here I want to share with you two interesting examples. A college teacher placed a job advert in front of her students and asked them what the job is all about. An advert was mostly listing of technological skills and many students didn’t manage to locate the key skills employer was looking for, as it was cleverly ‘masked’ under technological terms:

Expertise: Information Systems Technology 
Education: Bachelors 
Job Type: Full-Time
Location: Tulsa, OK
Compensation: Commensurate with Experience
Start Date: Immediate

Provide technical support and assistance to both Williams internal application systems users and external customers/partners. Develop familiarity with business, application, and technical processes and use this understanding to improve the processing and accuracy of the data and the performance of the interfaces between internal systems and external customers. Lead efforts to resolve issues across business, application support, and technical support groups seeking the best solution to problems that arise in the process, performance, or accuracy of application systems and the data exchanged between internal and external systems and customers. Problem resolution efforts will often include direct interaction with external customers. Must be a strong leader able to manage cross-functional teams toward a common goal of problem resolution and process improvement. Problem resolution efforts will often involve teams with dissimilar goals and priorities and the need to manage them toward a common goal and gain the support of their disparate management organizations. Must possess exceptional written and oral skills. A good existing understanding of business, application, and technical areas is required and/or the ability to seek out and assimilate information independently and quickly. Must be able to work with little supervision and manage time effectively. Knowledge and experience acquired through this position will serve as excellent preparation for movement into advanced leadership positions within Williams Communications. Bachelors degree or equivalent experience.

When the teacher asked her students to take a look at deeper meaning in this advert, to treat it like they were reading a poem – that approach opend a lively discussion in the class and students managed to locate two key sentences:

Must be a strong leader able to manage cross-functional teams toward a common goal of problem resolution and process improvement. Problem resolution efforts will often involve teams with dissimilar goals and priorities and the need to manage them toward a common goal and gain the support of their disparate management organizations.

Beside the excellent communication and leadership skills, employer is looking for someone whose teams probably at the moment are not getting along; they are looking for someone new, with fresh ideas and perspective and as such who will be able to manage number of smaller groups with cross-purposes.

So the teacher proved to her students in this fun and exciting exercise, how poetry teaches us to take critical approach to what we are confronted with, and how in such fashion we are able to look for underlying causes and hidden facts, which are not obvious at first sight. This skill can be helpful in many life situations – even when it comes to haunting your dream job.

In another interesting  article, we can see the results of survey that Linkendin has conducted – they asked influencers what is the single best piece of advice they’ve ever received when it comes  to career. Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President at Apple Retail shared a single poem that encapsulates a lifetime of lessons: The Desiderata.

Its profound principles subliminally shaped and defined my core and have guided me throughout my life.

It was framed on the wall of her father’s office when she was a teenager.

At the time, I repeated the words without reflection, unconcerned by their meaning, but with perspective, I know these simple truths helped form the fabric of my leadership, inspiring me and reminding me of my place and my purpose.”

An excerpt:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”

“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

So, in the nut shell these are my two recommendations for using poetry as a career guidance:

  1. Use metaphor to describe your problem: strong images and observations that can trigger some additional thoughts on how you can approach your problem differently and observe how you feel about each thought – it’s the best orienteer if you are on the right track with your solution. Positive language can enforce development of positive ‘narrative identity and choices’, which can lead to better understanding what is our purpose and calling in life.
  1. Find inspirational poems that align with your values and outlook on life. Read them frequently, use them as a reminder of what you stand for and what you desire your life to be.

Do you have any poem that profoundly influenced your life? Please share in the comments below.


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Can poetry help you land your dream job – part I

poetry_dreamjob

How to choose a career path? In these two-part post series I’ll discuss the benefits of reading and writing poetry for career development.

We all know that career as a definition and societal phenomena has undergone many changes and I do believe that today it has become very personal thing. A stay-at-home mom, having three kids and raising her family can be very satisfied with her life. Or someone who is working every day in an isolated lab, researching and developing new formulas can be very proud of their life. It all comes down to what we perceive that we are good at and what we consider success in life.

But we also have to keep in mind that many factors influence our decisions and how we see ourselves – especially in early adolescence. In my culture, technical sciences were seen as a crown of any scientific advancement and many of us were conditioned to make our educational choices according to that premise. Not what you are talented for, not what you liked to do – but rather what job markets needed. And there is nothing wrong with having that factor in mind, but also trying to find that middle ground where you can really express your talents and true nature – in meaningful and contributive way, is what you can do best for yourself (especially when you have a lots of interests).

What all that has to do with poetry, you might ask? Nothing and everything – depending how you look at things. As we practice writing poetry, I do believe that at the most deepest levels, while training ourselves to observe the world, we also observe ourselves: our feelings, needs, inclinations, behavioral patterns, habits. When you write in the first person, your attention is focused on yourself. You are learning about ‘real you’ and from there what kind of life you want. Poetic language is condescend, emotionally ‘pumped up’ and may contain hidden messages that in regular writing we would easily omit.

Free writing and journaling are quite straightforward and direct. Poetry very much relies on metaphor and figurative language. What we actually see and perceive, once expressed in metaphorical speech can also serve as a basis of developing new reality we want to experience – in any aspect of  life. It can trigger ideas for solutions and new approaches to problems, even when it comes to your career choice.

Instead of saying:” I’m confused, I don’t know what I want, what I want to do”, we can also say:

“Everything is blur and fogy around me,

 I can’t see clearly.

If I walk I might trip and fall.”

This kind of perspective can further opens door to new possibilities instead locking us down in our own thinking, leaving us feeling deprived, depressed or miserable. The above metaphor might apply the need for taking cautious, baby steps, trying to focus on one thing at the time (trying to find direction in dense fog and search for light).

This kind of approach can lead to development of healthy narrative identity, as defined by Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams. As further described in this article McAdams sees

narrative identity as an internalized story you create about yourself — your own personal myth. Like myths, our narrative identity contains heroes and villains that help us or hold us back, major events that determine the plot, challenges overcome and suffering we have endured. When we want people to understand us, we share our story or parts of it with them; when we want to know who another person is, we ask them to share part of their story.

How we perceive our lives also leads to “narrative choices” we make. If we are able to see anything good in our past experiences and have that internalized narrative that sheds a light of growth and improvement,  is the key to crafting a positive identity, having control over your life and that you are able to overcome life’s obstacles.

And I often like to say “we can’t change the past, but we can rewrite it”. Poetry can help us  to tell a different story about ourselves. Our capabilities, our desires, but also understanding of different perspectives. But most importantly, as poetry ask you to access your deepest and most hidden thoughts and parts of your personality, it can help you realize what you really want, what is your potential and how to realize it.

To complement this reading I also invite you to read this post about benefits of having  purpose statement and vision for your personal development.


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5 hints to make reading poetry more enjoyable

5-hints-to-reading-poetry

As much as I do believe that technology has given us a lot – a sort of commodity and easiness in our lives, it is also taking from us. We are becoming more accustomed to live fast, do as much as possible while some little enjoyable things flash in a split second, that we are forgetting how they used to feel.

Scrolling down the silver screen, just superficial browsing of information without any deeper thought of what we are actually reading has transferred also on other types of written media. When it comes to poetry – it does require your whole being’s attention.

As discussed here on why people don’t like poetry, I want today to offer you some pointers that might help you enjoy reading poetry even more and discover other poets who’s work sometimes stays undeservedly neglected.

  1. Read the poem more than once. If possible, even try reading it out loud. Poetry differs from prose in sense that is not everything straightforward and open. Words are usually condensed and with each rereading we gain more clarity and can appreciate the message it carries. I have found that it is important not to force ourselves to understand everything, all at once. It is similar to saying ‘when the student is ready, teacher will appear’. For some poems we might not be ready to ‘digest the truth’ it has to offer, in one particular time. Not every poem is ‘our cup of tea’ and that is completely fine and acceptable. Our ultimate goal shouldn’t be to fathom what the poet wanted to say or what question the poem answers, but rather to let something in the experience of reading catches our intention, to find our own value and meaning.
  1. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings that arise while reading the poem. Is there a specific word or phrase you like/dislike? Look at the prevailing theme in the poem and examine those internal images poem is provoking in you.
  1. In our reading practice we may often encounter poems with strange structure, omitted syntax and broken grammar rules. As at the beginning such poem might look weird, focus on the words – as it creates greater emotional response in the reader. Poetry connects unrelated things in the most unusual ways, so stay open to any appearing ambiguity. Enjoy the metaphors, images, rhythm – be rather the appreciator of the artistic expression, than the critic.
  1. Is there a poem you find special and dear to you? Write your response to that poem. Or ‘upgrade’ the existing poem with your own life experiences, thoughts and feelings. In such way, not only you are enjoying reading your favorite poem, but you are working on your own writing skills.
  1. And the last hint I can offer you is in your own writing practice, try to mimic the style of your favorite poet. It will help you to better understand a poet’s intentions and how to express yourself in a different writing form.

Maybe C. Darwin’s quote  sums it all the best:

My mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years… Now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry… I have also almost lost any taste for pictures or music… My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts…

If I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882 (pp. 138-139)


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How writing poetry every day made more patient and emotionally resilient

poetry_patience

This post, and the thing I experienced today is a perfect opportunity for me to write about patience and emotional resilience. I actually wrote this post few days ago, but I saved it on my desktop, for further editing and my laptop crashed. Yep, and with it the first version of this post, which I liked much more, but of course, I didn’t back it up, so we are patient and writing again. I hope I’ll manage to express clearly enough what I want to say.

Life consists of many little moments like that. Situations and people we encounter on a daily basis and how we are able to deal with them makes all the difference. And talking about my self – well I’ve never been a champion in mastering those things. Actually I’m quite short-tempered. A quality that I’m not very proud of.

It’s not that I enjoy any kind of quarrel or verbal conflict, but I am very passionate person (in both good and negative way) and it has impacted my life on so many levels. When I believe that I have arguments to defend my case, people can find me too assertive and not very approachable. Especially at work, no matter how you are right (or believe you are right), you need skills to manage situation in such way not to go against your own interests, and when you are under pressure, imprisoned by deadlines and other shortcomings – diplomacy is not the first word that pops up to your mind. When you are emotionally charged up and you let yourself fall into dispute, you are not hurting only the other person, but most importantly you are hurting yourself. And it doesn’t serve you at all.

I’ve been writing poetry on daily basis now for almost three years. And people have been telling me about subtle changes they noticed in my behavior. Positive changes. And I know I worked hard in last couple of years to improve my lifestyle and habits, but this particular I do believe has a lot to do with writing poetry. My colleagues have noticed a that I deal with stressful situations more efficiently, with calm and ease. And when I think more clearly about what they imply to is that instead of reacting to situation, I’m taking my time to respond to situation. I am able to step back and analyze it from different angles. I’m not attacker and I’m not a victim. I am observer and from that vantage point, I deal with problem with much care, taking into consideration other side’s point of view. Writing is like dumping whatever emotional load I could be holding on to, which leaves the space for clarity, compassion and understanding. Or sometimes when I write poem about the situation, it turns on a humorous tone, which makes me laugh and immediately lessens the tension in my body.

And in some other instances..it’s quite interesting. I for example don’t like any type of waiting. In the supermarket, for public transport…what ever it is. I always try to find some shortcut. I might walk instead of waiting, go late in the evening to buy stuff…but you can’t predict and control everything. For New Year’s I went to Belgrade to visit my parents and of course there were many people traveling. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is one of the largest in Europe and you can imagine how it can get crowded during the holidays. It was so congested that I waited more than hour to pass security. In previous times, it would probably freak me out, but this time I enjoyed watching people, their characters and thought of dear friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

Writing poetry teaches me to understand the world as it is, without judgment. In such way, you are more flexible to adapt to current conditions instead of trying to mold everything to fit your scenario.  And believe me, it is so liberating!

The best advice I can give you is try to use your daily writing habit to relieve stressful thoughts and feelings. Use it as tool to connect with yourself, honor your most deepest and honest feelings. It will empower your emotional preparedness, clarity, understanding of you current experience and most importantly, it will bring you moments of peace to restore you energy in the crazy and hectic world we live in.

Patience, Though I Have Not

Patience, though I have not
   The thing that I require,
I must of force, God wot,
   Forbear my most desire;
For no ways can I find
To sail against the wind.
Patience, do what they will
   To work me woe or spite,
I shall content me still
   To think both day and night,
To think and hold my peace,
Since there is no redress.
Patience, withouten blame,
   For I offended nought;
I know they know the same,
   Though they have changed their thought.
Was ever thought so moved
To hate that it hath loved?
Patience of all my harm,
   For fortune is my foe;
Patience must be the charm
   To heal me of my woe:
Patience without offence
Is a painful patience.
Sir Thomas Wyatt

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The Poem Strikes Back! (creative writing exercise)

poem-strikes-back

It’s a bit strange title for the blog post, isn’t it? This is a different approach to writing prompts and exercises that you are accustomed to on this blog, but the last thing we want is to be boring and monotonous.

And before you dismiss whole idea, because it sounds silly – actually it is all about being aware of different perspectives. This is a sort of continuation of blog posts related to mindfulness and why not taking a role play as a foundation for writing prompt? To go even step further, let’s imagine that you are a poem. What would poem have to say? We use our writing as a tool to release our anger, love, passion, depression, fears, admiration, secrets, desires…Is your poem tired of you? Are you whining all the time? Are you always concentrated on what’s going on inside yourself that you missed a beautiful, strong and passionate  winter storm? The birch outside your window doesn’t have any leaves, have you noticed that?

Or you are trying to please everybody all day and you forgot to smile. Can you count how many times you smiled today?

Do you remember your latest dream? And when was the last time you danced to your favorite song?

Let your poem tell you all that. Imagine your writing is a mirror, what is it reflecting? What is missing out of your life? What is too much?

This is something I like to call reversed mindfulness. You are observing, noticing, listening…but instead of what is, we can focus on what isn’t. Our poem can tell us that story, a sort of self-reflection that shows us where our life is at, right now and what we can change.

It doesn’t matter if its humorous, boring, exaggerating – nobody is perfect, so neither is your poem. It’s about the understanding how we can enjoy life more.

So here’s the setting: It’s time for your writing. You are about to sit at your table but there is already a piece of paper waiting for you. It’s a poem, addressed to you and it says: “Dear_______

So, this is my take on the exercise:

Dear Maja,

how are you today?

Another grey Tuesday in the sunny Hague?

That rainy hat you are teasingly pressing on your head

Forget it…let it blow

like a wild bat…

Feel the wind through your hair,

that boring despair – leave at home

(there’s no such thing  “a graceful yawning”

I can tell you that!)

And why there are only two crossed lines

on your forehead?

Smile with your face,

you don’t have to know everything just yet.

Life unfolds, there is a reason I’m saying you this.

Stay close to me, my dearest friend.

You are not alone – like the Moon follows Earth,

I’m behind you, invisible, most delicate thread

you’ll understand, close your eyes, jump over that doorstep.

What your poem has to tell you?


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Is there a recipe for leading a creative life?

recipe_creativity

If we consider creativity as a purely mental process, its simplest definition would be coming up with new, applicable and valuable ideas. But does that make us creative persons? Or it requires more than that, like maintaining fertile conditions where these ideas can naturally flourish and are easily implemented? Now things are getting a bit complex and interesting.

How does it look like when we apply the aforementioned principle in our daily lives? What constitutes a creative life? Is there a recipe or formula we can follow in order to live more creatively?

If you ask an artist or scientist how their creativity looks like and what do they except, probably we will get different answers. An artist might wish for painting more attractive or expressive pieces and scientist would like to recognize new ways of finding solutions to a problem. As their approaches and work differ a lot, there is one common denominator: going beyond yourself, exploring your own boundaries and capabilities.

In our everyday lives that would mean giving our best in almost any activity we do, in any situation, but also being open to trying new things, experimenting – detached from desired outcome.

In other words, taking risks – being that in crucial moments or in simple decisions we make every day. Being able to take risks develops our ability to deal with uncertainty, ambiguous situations we find ourselves in and learn from them.

Of course, by taking risks I don’t mean being reckless in our decision making, but being open to different approaches, solutions and not being afraid of change – as change in one way or another governs life.

So how you can bring more creativity to your every day life?

Experiment. Try new things – being that food, hobby or just your hairstyle. Move your body – as you move, everything else is moving in you and you are stirring up those creative juices. You are learning about yourself and there is so much more for you to discover. In this post I suggest how being proactively creative you are training your creativity – which is your goal: to easier and faster come up with valuable ideas.

I’m very loud prominent of reading and writing poetry for fostering creativity, as through that process you are getting accustomed to new perspectives, previously unknown connections or unfamiliar realities.

So my recipe for today’s creativity? I’ll just grab a poem for lunch. 🙂

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense

Rumi


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Poetry in disguise: using your casual writing to discover the poet within

poetry-in-disguise

I can bet that many of you, as a little kid (just as I did) liked to have a small notebook or a diary where you would write your cutest and most intricate secrets – how you hated your lunch or how that boy in the second row always gave you weird looks and laughed at your braces.

And I do believe that even today so far I have never met a real boredom – because I’m always doodling, jotting something down and I find easy ways to amuse myself. That habit of simply recording your thoughts can have a deeper meaning and transfer into something more beautiful and valuable. Today I want to share my experience with that.

I’m a strong advocate for journaling and daily ‘casual’ writing, because if you look at it more clearly, it is a perfect guide and companion: paper can hold on to anything, it is there without any judgment, ‘listening’ and helping you reflect on your daily thoughts, feelings and experiences. I believe that our journal/diary entries can be a great source for poetry writing as it is a simple tool where you express yourself in a variety of ways – writing but also collecting and keeping small memorabilia (like scrap book), photographs, pictures, making interesting collages, vision boards, to do lists, goals and ext.

All that merged with poetry that accentuates language and experience can lead to developing your own little master piece. Any journal entry can be an inexhaustible source to discover poems as journal is a bridge between you and your perception of life. When you start to write, it is adventure for itself as you never know what might happen and where the words will lead you. You might get sudden burst of creative inspiration and from there transform it into the most beautiful poem. There are no barriers, limitations or vocabular sensitivities. You write who you are, in that moment. What I like about having journal as an inspiration for poetry writing is that it allows you to examine questions you probably wouldn’t consider ‘poetical enough’. But there’s the catch: it is a place for openness, no hide and seek games – it’s just you and your real interests, desires, emotions – raw, uncensored.

If you read your writing entries more carefully (and in the title I on purpose used term casual writing instead of journaling because even drawings and doodling can be translated into a poem – many people don’t keep journal per se but like occasionally to write and draw) you can recognize where poetry is well disguised and waits for you to be discovered.

What to look for?

  1. Pay attention to the language.

    Are there any words and sentences that seem more melodical, poetical, that offer sensual rhythm – being that about your beautiful pet, funny afternoon with your child or romantic evening with your spouse – these are emotions that can be translated into poetry.

  1. Pay attention to the feelings.

    Follow your writing entries to see where you write/draw with passion and strength, where you eloquently describe what happened to you (being that injury, pain or even a dispute with a friend), where all your senses are awaken and your descriptions are very detail and elaborate – from there you can derive sincere and strong poem.

  1. Pay attention to the core themes that are repeating.

    These are your central life issues and reveal what is deeply rooted inside and what’s important to you. In your poem you can further elaborate those messages, explore their meaning and get clearer insight on how they are impacting your life. In my case, that’s the issue of health – how that impacts everything that I’m doing, my general quality of life and many of my poems are health and family related.

In one my future posts I intent to discuss in more detail how we can use journal writing to enhance our language and poetic expression.

Do you journal or write every day? How that impacts your poetry writing? Please, share in the comments below.

The tightness and the nilness round that space
when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect
its make and number and, as one bends his face

towards your window, you catch sight of more
on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent
down cradled guns that hold you under cover

and everything is pure interrogation
until a rifle motions and you move
with guarded unconcerned acceleration—

a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient.

So you drive on to the frontier of writing
where it happens again. The guns on tripods;
the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating

data about you, waiting for the squawk
of clearance; the marksman training down
out of the sun upon you like a hawk.

And suddenly you’re through, arraigned yet freed,
as if you’d passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road

past armor-plated vehicles, out between
the posted soldiers flowing and receding
like tree shadows into the polished windscreen.

Seamus Heaney


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Poetic inspiration: Why poetry?

why_poetry

Poetry articulates your hidden parts:

sensitive but beautiful,

vulnerable but brave.

Poetry reveals your long forgotten treasures

strengths to move you forward

intimacy to keep you warm.

Poetry heals your deeply buried scars

allowing you to travel far,

to new worlds, to moments ajar.

Maja S: Todorovic


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Will poetry make you any smarter or wiser?

dead-poets-society

Few nights ago, almost after 20 years I watched “Dead poets society” movie again. Having poetry as  my regular friend and companion sheds completely new light not only on the understanding of the movie itself, but on the distance I made from a person I used to be to a person I believe I am today.  When I first watched movie, it was more interesting from a teenage point of view – I was in high school and it was amusing to relate to main characters’ early adolescent ups and downs. I certainly don’t attempt to analyze the movie here, but two main messages stuck to my mind after the second watch: how poetry so beautifully offers that different perspective, seeing world from another angle, through different color of lenses, walk in the shoes that can be too tight and make blisters or two big that make us feel clumsy and insecure.

But that is the only truth that exists – there is not only one truth and one reality. You can taste life on many levels and interpret events in endless ways. Poetry acts here as kind of a shortcut to that realization. And once you become aware (which leads me to the second message) is that it somehow gives you a wind in a back, a reassurance that it is OK not to conform; it is OK step out of typical societal expectations.

Will poetry make you any smarter or wiser? It’s hard to say 🙂 But it will help you realize that there is something else, different. It will help you to seize the possibilities and easier to recognize your own capabilities. It’s like sampling life experiences and choosing what you want for yourself.

Each poem is a story, a snapshot of life in particular place and moment in time. You are that third variable, invaluable ingredient that transcends unique experience – both as a writer and reader. Being present with the poem is allowing it to really consume your whole being and from there magic happens – it does have the power to give you strength and courage to enter that different reality. All you need is to let yourself surrender.

I want to once more emphasize that this is not my analyzes and critique on poetic, artistic or emotional value of the movie – merely my thoughts on poetry inspired by it.

For the end of this post I would like to share with you poem by Wisława Szymborska where she so eloquently expresses the uncertainty of our perceived reality and human nature in general. As we are connected but individual, each experience is unique, but universal. Each life is special and so ordinary in the same time.

Could Have

It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.

You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck—there was a forest.
You were in luck—there were no trees.
You were in luck—a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
a jamb, a turn, a quarter inch, an instant.
You were in luck—just then a straw went floating by.

As a result, because, although, despite.
What would have happened if a hand, a foot,
within an inch, a hairsbreadth from
an unfortunate coincidence.

So you’re here? Still dizzy from another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn’t be more shocked or speechless.
Listen,
how your heart pounds inside me.

Wisława Szymborska


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Hidden poetry gem: using power of language for improving persuasion skills

rumi_poetry

Have you ever wondered how some people have like magical power to persuade others in their point of view, that they somehow win every argument?

It’s not they always have all the knowledge or the wittiest and most cunning answer. They say the right words in right moment. Not too much, not too less, but right words. It’s like they are carrying around some sort of charisma that is attractive and appealing to people, which for sure is a first step of getting someone on your side – they first have to notice you and what it is that you have to say.

I also think that we often underestimate and neglect the power of language. Spoken language, written language, body language – they all tell a specific story and influence what kind of impact in any given situation we will make. Language is what connects us but also the tool we can use to emphasize our differences, values and reasons – using the tone and voice, language can also dictate ‘the tempo and intensity’ of conversation.

To improve our persuasive skills our language needs to be memorable, distinct, inspiring and supportive. I’ve already written how poetry attributes to leadership, but there are additional benefits that I want to draw your attention to.

I do believe that in some form of another we are all born poets – as we all use, make and create language. The key point here is how we use our language and in what purposes we are putting it in. And this is where poetry brings so much beauty and creativity.

Spending time reading and writing poetry is like training, having an exercise of your brain mussels where you sharpen your senses and you learn to pay closer attention; you slow down fast-paced thoughts and you are reshaping your mind for finding greater meanings as your ability for deep listening grows. You become more aware of weaknesses and virtues of human kind and with that understating, your language reflects that. Great influencers are known for their ability to connect with people on many different levels and poetry acts as a bridge across those barriers – it becomes easier for you to accentuate your message and value.

But most importantly you see yourself and value yourself differently. You start to recognize the areas of language you can express with greater clarity:

  • you find the meaning in having more alternatives;
  • you find ways to communicate your cause more effectively, creatively like using metaphors and similes to explain your point view.

In any given conversation poetry can act as an ice-breaker to lessen the tension and approach the subject with more ease:

  • Using poetic language can instill courage in conversation which is a catalyst for implementing change.
  • In brainstorming sessions can open the doors to hidden creativity, which is essential to innovation.
  • Poetry and art, in general, appeal to senses – which makes us more perceptive to risk taking, but also to strategically value situation.

Poetry, like language is ever-evolving and different, as each time we can perceive it differently. So are we, ever-adapting, by having trust in the change and confidence in the present moment able to reconcile any contrast within ourselves and our authenticity  speakes for us – everyone around is already convinced.

Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions
that have no right
to go away.

David Whyte


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