“Joy shared is twice the joy. Sorrow shared is half the sorrow” (Swedish proverb). Our intangible virtues, principles, attitudes, beliefs, faith, skills, abilities, and relationships produce lasting health, wealth, love, and joyfulness. Relationships can have a wonderful, yet ineffable component, whereas we cannot describe with words our immense heart-felt emotions and feelings we have for someone, while those awe-struck wondrous relations remain extremely palpable and undeniably moving. Building upon these assets grows life fully.
Remember to be grateful while both receiving and giving joy. How can you give another person joy today? What kind word or deed can you offer someone today? Maybe saying, “I am sorry” or “I love you,” or just listening is all a person needs most today. The opportunities and ways to bless others are endless. You are a beautiful and priceless one-of-a-kind individual with unique experiences and gifts, created for greatness. Thank you for being you.
“The gods help them that help themselves” (Aesop). Do not passively expect blessings to be dropped from the sky into your lap by praying without followed-up deliberate determined action. Let’s do our part and live life on purpose. Remember the law of reciprocation. Blessings may not come in the exact form given, but they come indeed.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” (Victor Frankl). Have you or a loved one ever felt trapped, seemingly with no way out due to bad decisions or uncontrollable circumstances? I certainly have and overcoming the seemingly inescapable confinement as a result of poor choices is a wonderful and liberating experience.
“Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is. How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self” (Millicent Fenwick). Many people that drink alcohol excessively or do illicit drugs are trying to fill feelings of emptiness or a void in life. When a person loses control over themselves and the food or substance is eating (killing or creating a negative effect) them and not the person consuming the food or substance to stay heathy, invigorated with energy and aliveness to achieve greatness, then it’s time for a serious inward radically transparent and truthful self-examination. Be humble enough to ask for help when necessary. None of us knows everything, while acknowledging how little we know may ignite the fuse necessary toward seeking out transformational resources. Don’t die in lonely despair because an oversized ego or fear of embarrassment stole your true potential to fully live an extraordinary liberating life.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” (Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain). Education is even more than learning, theory, and application, but hope and a future. Learning, discovery, training, and experience are lifelong voyages that very well may begin at the end of formal schooling. Develop a constant and never-ending improvement consciousness, coupled with action.
“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand” (Native American proverb). Developing our ability to effectively think by infusing our mind with positive applicable knowledge allows us to respond from our automatic subconscious mind when inquired. We must not think about what to say when we ought to be fully engaged in listening and observing another person express him or herself. Take full advantage of opportunities to completely engage yourself in understanding other people, while restraining from giving feedback, unless asked.
Motive matters when we speak. People are substantially influenced by the reason why we do something, much more than strictly what we do or say. Let’s be genuinely interested in what other people want by focusing on their desires equally, if not more so, than our own. Be a leader, knowing leaders are meant to serve, enhancing greatness and abilities in individuals. Remember the global golden rule to do unto others what you would like done to you. Daily, practice asking yourself, “What would I like others to say and do for me?” Take initiative to say and do that for them.
Remember, people have different wants and needs at varying times, therefore, be mindful toward those fluxing desires and necessities. Quality, value, caring, love, acceptance, empathy, gratitude, forgiveness, consideration, kindness, helpfulness, adaptability, and appreciation never go out of style. Inculcate these attributes into your character. Tattoo them in your mind.
My seven year-old son says and lives by the motto, sharing is caring. We must give to get and receive to give, therefore, let’s start sharing what we have. We must not allow what we don’t have, stop us from giving what we do have. Much more is given back to us in return through acts of sharing, caring, and giving.
The act of genuinely caring builds trust in every relationship. Trust is the foundational glue holding, growing and building all types of relations between people. Don’t allow absence of college degrees, lack of any type of formal education according to societal norms, or any other self-limiting belief hinder you another moment from choosing to do good, right, and unleashing your greatness within.
Furthermore, speaking can be a form of sharing, while sincere listening consists of compassion. In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes that the gift of empathetic listening gives an individual psychological air. The goal of intentional listening is to be fully engaged and emphatically understand the person speaking; not focused on autobiographically or audibly responding.⁶ Let’s give people the gift of our undivided attention and attentive nonjudgmental ears.
“True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance” (Akhenaton). Practice making decisions quickly through self-awareness by knowing thyself well and increasing wisdom and understanding, which are lifelong endeavors. The more knowledge acquired reveals how little we truly know. Stay insatiably curious and hungry, constantly hunting to unearth golden nuggets of prudent insights that help mankind.
“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something” (Wilson Mizner). We can learn much by observing people, including watching our kids play or through hearing and heeding their wisdom. Old can learn from young, and young from older. Yes, edification occurs through teaching others, yet even more understanding, applicable knowledge, insight, awareness, and life-changing advice or suggestions comes through the art of listening.
Constant and never-ending improvement is an eternal endeavor. Winners commit to a plan, persevering no matter what. This means never, never, never giving up. Additionally, forgiveness breaks chains, thus granting freedom for progressive growth. Simple pragmatic ideas for a better life occur just from listening. Remember, purpose-driven action is imperative for continual progression.
“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence” (Jorge Luis Borges). Daily, practice listening to people and talk only when asked a question. Give a succinct answer that does not provoke further queries. It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth, therefore let’s listen twice as much as we talk. We might learn a thing or two by having the mindset of being an eternal student of life, learning, progressing, and constantly growing through observation and listening.
Train yourself not to agree or disagree by shaking your head or making any verbal remarks during conversations, seminars, meetings, or sermons. This is more challenging than it sounds. Keep ethically upright personal opinions strong by not allowing others to influence or control your moral decision-making skills and abilities. Do not concern yourself with other peoples’ opinions (OPOs). Our own intrinsic opinions, beliefs, and convictions about ourselves, the universe, and all matter therein, matters most. Respecting and loving others begins by respecting and loving yourself.