Affinity and Beyond – Episode 43

As Brianna prepared for her next interview with Henry, she thought about the most recent stories she had written. Was there a common theme in each of the stories? She couldn’t find one. Maybe Henry could help her.

BH:     I must say those recent stories were both depressing and enlightening. I feel that I learned a lot from them, but it’s not clear to me what it is that I learned.

HJ:      There’s something new about you. You’re wearing glasses. I wondered how long it would take you to become aware that you needed them. The last few interviews we’ve done, I saw you squinting at your keyboard.

BH:     I guess that I finally had to put vanity aside and accept the fact that my eye sight had gone bad.

HJ:      Were you not aware that you needed glasses?

BH:     Not at first. It’s hard to be self-aware as your everyday life progresses. You know reduction in your eye sight isn’t an on/off switch. It’s gradual. I just had to admit to myself that I needed to accept that I needed to change.

HJ:      You’ve just found the theme to each of the stories you have written. Talent and self-awareness must be bound together. Without self-awareness, your talent can become destructive. That’s why you see so many tragic stories of creative people who lost their way.

BH:     But how do you we make people self-aware?

HJ:      What I try to teach our residents is to look for the enemies of talent.

BH:     What are those?

HJ:      You mentioned one: vanity. There are also enemies like ego, power and money, and self-image.

BH:     But how do you learn to watch out for these enemies?

HJ:      We need to help people do self-reflection on what’s really important to them. The challenge that I’ve always faced is how to teach those self-reflection skills. Isn’t it ironic that we struggle to teach some of the most important things in life?

BH:     For me, each of those stories I’ve written for you have been a great way to practice self-reflection. But I can see how hard that would be for others.

HJ:      It is. What I try to give each of our residents is a way to discover their talent and a way to practice self-reflection. I’ve generally been successful with the talent part but not always with the self-reflection.

BH:     How can I help?

HJ:      In effect, you already have. Your stories have become mirrors for those who can’t see themselves. Just imagine how we can begin to teach our residents to write their own stories. We can start teaching them when they are here and set in motion a way for them to update their stories once they leave us.

BH:     I’m beginning to get a sense of what you want me to do next.

HJ:      That’s right. We have five residents who I’d like you to talk to that will be leaving us in the next year. I want you to help find their talent to carry forward in their lives.

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“Self-reflection entails asking yourself questions about your values, assessing your strengths and failures, thinking about your perceptions and interactions with others, and imagining where you want to take your life in the future.”
– Robert L. Rosen

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