60-Second HABITS That Connect Across Generations

Jun 6, 2023

In this article, I want to share with you nine powerful habits that take just 60 seconds each but have the potential to create deeper connections—across generations. 

So often, we walk into conversations or interactions with preconceived notions, assumptions, and judgments based on generational differences. However, by adopting these habits of noticing, wondering, inquiring, and more, we can bridge those gaps and foster meaningful connections. Let’s dive in!

The Habit of Noticing:

       1. Being present is the first step towards connecting across generations. Often, we get caught up in our past experiences and preconceived ideas about who the other person or their generation is. By simply noticing who they are and how they are in the present moment, we open ourselves up to recognizing the nuances that make each individual unique. Building bridges starts with acknowledging and appreciating those nuances.

The Habit of Wondering—and Inquiring:

       2. This one is really numbers 2 and 3. Once we have noticed something about the other person, the next step is to tap into our genuine curiosity. Instead of approaching the conversation with judgment, we should pack it away and be open to wonder about what we have observed. What interests us about their perspective or experiences? 

       3. Finally, take action by inquiring. Ask questions that go beyond surface-level assumptions and show a genuine interest in understanding the other person’s point of view. When your questions are rooted in natural and empathetic curiosity, you’ll be amazed at how willing people are to share. 

Neutralizing Your Questions:

      4. Our questions often carry hidden judgments, even when we are not aware of them. By neutralizing our questions, we can foster a more inclusive and open conversation. Start your questions with “what” or “how” instead of “why,” as the latter tends to be loaded with judgment. By doing so, we create a safe space for exploration and genuine exchange of ideas.

The “Are You Present?” Habit:

      5. Connecting across generations requires us to be fully present in the moment. Imagine I am standing beside you, placing my hand on your shoulder, and asking, “Are you present?” By acknowledging the presence of another human being, regardless of their age, we open ourselves up to the wealth of “ungoogleable experiences” they carry. Embrace the opportunity to learn something fantastic from them, guided by the understanding that everyone we meet knows something we don’t.

Setting Clear and Shared Intentions

      6. The sixth and seventh habits involve setting clear intentions and…. 

      7. Sharing those intentions with the people impacted by them. 

Rarely do we pause long enough to set intentions for our interactions, especially across generational lines. And even more rarely do we actually communicate those intentions. By getting clear about our intentions and sharing them with the other person, we create an environment of mutual understanding and trust. This practice eliminates manipulation and puts both parties on an equal playing field. Communicate your intent openly, acknowledging the different perspectives and aiming to find common ground in problem-solving or decision-making.

The Habit of Listening:

      8. Listening is a skill that holds tremendous power in connecting across generations. When someone speaks, truly listen to what they are saying. Forget about yourself and your own life for just a moment to fully absorb their words and the nuances behind them. Remember what they have shared, and the next time you interact, reference those past conversations. This simple act demonstrates that you care and shows a genuine interest in their thoughts and experiences.

The Habit of Empathy:

      9. Empathy is not about completely losing ourselves in someone else’s context. Instead, it involves putting one foot in their shoes while keeping the other foot grounded in our own reality. By understanding and acknowledging the challenges others face, even if they differ from our own, we can maintain a balanced perspective. This enables us to be helpful, curious, and open to practicing the other habits mentioned here.

Bonus Tip: Share this Article!

If you truly want to connect across generations, consider copying the URL and sharing this article with others. Invite them to watch the video as a group and engage in a discussion about the habits and insights shared here. By doing so, you create an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and shared understanding.

TL;DR Summary

Building bridges across generations is essential for fostering empathy, understanding, and collaboration. By adopting these 9 60-second habits—Notice, Wonder and Inquire, Neutralize Your Questions, The “Are You Present?” Habit, Set Clear and Share Intentions, The Habit of Listening, and The Habit of Empathy—we can transform our interactions and create connections that transcend generational differences. Remember, everyone we meet has valuable knowledge and experiences to offer. So, let’s embrace curiosity, empathy, and open-mindedness as we navigate the diverse tapestry of generations, and together, let’s build a more connected and inclusive world.

I hope you found these habits valuable and insightful. Now, it’s time to put them into practice and experience the transformative power of connecting across generations. Have an awesome day!

Note: This blog article is based on the transcript of a video by me, Chad Littlefield. The content has been adapted and formatted while retaining the style, tone, and voice of the original transcript.