Monday, March 5, 2012
When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something new or you're reminded of something you knew but have forgotten or you figure out something you thought you knew but didn't understand. But now you do. Just because you listen.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
If talk is cheap, why do we always find ourselves paying such a huge price for not listening?
The answer is simple. It is because we have undervalued the true worth of conversation. We often hear about the art of conversation—how it’s dying or what’s needed to make it flourish, or how rare it is to hear good conversation. What is killing the art of conversation is nothing more than the absence of good listeners.
You don’t believe me? Well, get on the subway in New York City, say something and see if anyone hears you, let alone listens to you. Everyone is wearing a headphone or earphones or just staring into space.
In today’s world, there are many things competing for our attention. Gone are the days when all you needed to remember was your phone number and perhaps your social security number. Today, you have to remember not only those important numbers, but your cell phone number, social security number, tens of passwords and tens of PINs (Personal Identification Numbers), etc.
Because of the premium price placed on time, we’ve also placed a price tag on conversation. We only wish to engage in conversations that bring monetary value. We no longer want chat time with our neighbors or family members, or the elderly Mrs. Williams at the end of the block, because we suspect she would want to tell us all about the good old days when we could leave our doors unlocked or sit on our front porch and wave to passers-by. We only want conversations that lead to income. No longer do we want to engage in a conversation that centers on others; just what’s in it for us.
In order for us to enjoy once again the art of conversation, we must be willing to listen.
Listening is not natural. It is not one of the body’s senses. Listening is an art. Those who have mastered the art of listening are well on their way to being popular and learning something new.
Remember, the art of conversation lies in listening.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
You will always gyrate around anyone who increases you and move away from anyone who decreases your value as a person.
- Ola Joseph.
There are different kinds of relationships that we engage in everyday at different levels. Some are business relationships, some are romantic and some are just social relationships. Whatever type we engage in, a relationship can be viewed in three different ways.
A relationship can be seen as a BRIDGE that connects your life with someone else’s. It is a bridge that you choose to build and it is a bridge that you choose to cross. The funny thing is that you never know where that bridge is going to take you and how long it will take.
This kind of relationship is not the kind of relationship you have with your in-laws. In-laws are good as long as they live in another city or in another state.
I’m talking about relationships that not only make you feel good, but relationships that make you feel great.
A relationship can also be viewed as a PLANT that you must water to keep alive. My point here is that a relationship is a relationship, whether casual or serious because a relationship must be kept alive if it is to achieve any purpose.
I have seen casual relationships that evolved into multi-million Dollars business and I have seen casual relationships that evolved into marriages. Therefore, relationships in any form and at any stage should be taken seriously.
A relationship is a BANK ACCOUNT. If all you do is visit your bank to withdraw money from the account everyday, sooner or later, it will be overdrawn. Therefore, a relationship needs to be invested in. We must constantly make deposits into it to keep it alive.
Some of the problems in relationships come from the fact that most of us enter a relationship in order to get something: we are trying to find someone who is going to make us feel good. But in reality, the only way a relationship will last is if we see our relationships as a place that we go to give, and not a place that we go to take.
Your aim when entering into a relationship, therefore, should be to bring out the best in people that you come in contact with. Your life will be filled if you learn to give off your best in whatever relationship you find yourself.
No, I’m not talking about money. I’m not talking about material things and it is not about sex. But about the way you make people feel when they are around you.
A good relationship should be about encouraging others to reach for the stars, it should be about helping others get what they want in life and it should be about helping people believe in themselves.
Hayward once said that “for every action, there is an equal opposite reaction. If you want to receive a great deal, you first have to give a great deal. If each individual will give of himself to whomever he can, wherever he can, in any way that he can, in the end, he will be compensated in the exact proportion that he gives.
I sincerely believe that the word ‘relationships’ is the key to the prospect of a decent world. At every opportunity, strive to create a flourishing relationship.
I was at a Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest a few weeks ago. After the contest, trophies were presented. There was a young Chinese lady who didn’t win anything. Being a foreigner who speaks English with an accent; I knew what she must have gone through to put her speech together.
At the end of the meeting, I raised my hand and announced that I would like to re-present my trophy to someone who deserved to be encouraged. I turned around and handed the trophy to her.
Her emotions came out. She thanked me profusely. Her husband shook my hand while muttering his thanks. “Thanks for encouraging us,” he said.
That is what I call relationship. When you go out of your way to bless somebody and help him/her feel great about him/herself.
Calving Coolidge said “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.”
In every relationship, seek to build a bridge just in case you need to cross it. Water the relationship and nourish it or else it will wither and die. Above all, always make a deposit into your relationship to avoid depleting it. See it as a place to give and not a place to take.
As the elders in my village would say, “We live to meet and meet to part but if we are related we shall meet again.”
Monday, February 6, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
MAKE IT UP UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT
“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps
never have been seen”
- Robert Bresson
When my editor sent me a message asking me “to change the focus of my article,” I knew I had to make something up and fast too. But for three hours I sat in front of my computer staring at a blank screen. Make something up? How does that sound?
In our world, the expression, “I made it up,” or “To make something up” has a kind of negative connotation. But in real sense, it is the best thing that can happen to us as individuals.
Making things up is another way of expressing creativity or putting your creative mind to work.
Creativity involves breaking ranks with established patterns in order to look at things in a different light. Simply put, it “thinking outside the box.”
What does a writer; have in common with a painter or a composer? The answer is: Creativity! They are creative, and they make things up. A writer comes up with a page turner that holds the reader spellbound, while a painter or an artist may paint a picture that is worth tens of thousands of dollars. A composer may come up with a piece of music that tickles the listener’s ears each time he or she hears it.
When a writer sits and stares at a blank paper or when an artist stands staring at a blank canvas, he is not trying to repeat what has been created before. Instead, he is trying to create what no one has ever created. In some cases, he doesn’t even know what he is going to create.
Most often, a creative person goes where his creative mind takes him. A creative mind roams. It roams the largest nation in the world, which according to my friend, Craig Valentine, is “Image nation” or “Imagination” and conjures up something that does not exist.
The intriguing part of a creative person is that he loves what is created even before it exists.
Creativity involves breaking away from the established point of view in order to see things in a different light. As Dr. Wayne Dyer once put it, “when you change the way you look at something, what you look at changes.”
Creativity is a lonely art and largely a lonely struggle. To some, creativity is a blessing. To others it is a curse. Imagine the struggle of a writer as he or she sits staring at a blank computer screen or an artist who stares at a blank canvas. The reality however, is that creativity is the ability to reach inside of yourself and pull out from your very soul an idea which you did not know existed.
Creative people are courageous and fearless. And because of their courage, they are willing to make mistakes. They are the ones who can think up crazy ideas knowing full well that their ideas may be worthless. They don’t mind. Creative people are flexible – they are able to change as the situation changes without breaking a sweat. They are not threatened by the unexpected.
For example, creative people do not mind starting out with little or no idea of where they are going. In fact, if a creative person arrives at an expected result, it only shows that he/she has not fully used his/her creative abilities. Creative mind takes you beyond your limitations.
Most creative people rid themselves of all self-imposed limitations. They are as free as the bird in the air. They can soar while allowing the wind to take them wherever it pleases because they know full well that when they arrive, they will discover something new and unique.
Being creative is like driving a car at night on a long, dark and unfamiliar road. You never see further than your headlights, and you never know what awaits you beyond your headlights, but you’re willing to explore because you suspect you will love what you find.
Creative activity could be likened to a learning process where the mentor and the “mentee” are located in the same body.
As Henry Miller once pointed out, “There is the happiness which comes from creative effort. The joy of dreaming, creating, building, whether in painting a picture, writing an epic, singing a song, composing a symphony, devising new invention, or creating a vast industry.”
When next you find yourself staring at a blank screen or blank canvas, don’t get mad, just allow your creative mind to roam and “make something up.”
Oh! By the way, I just made this up. Can you believe that?
Till I come your way again, I dare you to keep making things up♦