Recently we invited you to take a quiz about those people who have truly made a difference in
your life.
Together, we discovered that the names on our list were ordinary people. Ordinary people
who made the extraordinary decision to give of themselves to us in meaningful ways.

 

 Hopefully, you took the time to write or call the people on your list to express your gratitude for their past or present investment in your life.
Today, we want to dig deeper into what makes ordinary people so extraordinary. What tools
do they use to invest in others?

 

Let me suggest that caring and serving others starts with a simple, but significant step. 

                                                                                                                                     LISTENING to them

 

Listening requires setting aside our agenda, our stories, our concerns, to hear what is on the
mind and heart of another.

 

I like what Mike Nichols says in his book, The Lost Art Of Listening.Listening is the art by which we
use empathy to reach across the space between us.”

 

The truth be known, we all want to be heard and when someone genuinely takes the time to
bridge the gap between us and them, we feel blessed.

 

Here is how the Demmitt’s describe listening

Listening requires holding yourself in neutral long enough to thoroughly understand

another person without offering a fix or a solution to his problem, nor offering

an opposing point of view. The act of listening is a demonstration of what the Bible calls

“dying to self.” When it comes to communication, the acid test for understanding how

dead you are is how well you listen, not how well you talk.

Dallas & Nancy Demmitt, Can You Hear Me Now?  pgs. 35, 36.

 

Why is true listening so hard? 

If listening is such a valuable tool in caring for and serving others, why do we find it so hard to do on a regular basis?

According to David Benner, “A major obstacle to our growth as listeners is that most of us already
think we’re good listeners”. 

 

So how do we become better listeners ourselves?

It has been suggested that we hang around those people we deem are good

listeners and pay close attention to how they listen.  In addition to that idea let me

suggest that we subject ourselves to a bit of personal reflection.

 

 

Getting to the place where we are good listeners will start with some honest self-reflection

  • For what purpose do I enter a conversation?
  • Is it an opportunity to express my opinions, a chance to be heard?
  • Am I seeking attention or adulation?
    Do I try to entertain or perform for the other person, to convince them that I am likable or attractive?
  • Am I trying to show others that I’m right and convert them to my way of thinking?
  • Is it a setting for solving a problem?
  • Do I have a rigid agenda?
  • Am I the presumed expert and she the novice who needs to learn?

 

In short, we need to ask ourselves: Why am I listening to this person?

So that I can respond the first chance I get, or so that I can understand them? 

 

 

If you want to leave a legacy of investing in others I suggest that you take some time

to think about this question:

 

How good am I at listening to others?

 

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