how listening will help you achieve better solutions

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most people do not listen with the intent of hearing, they listen with an intent to answer. -unknown

have you ever had one if those conversations that didn’t actually require you to be involved? where you know the person is not hearing what your saying much less listening? where you throw in, “and she was dancing naked with all of her clothes on while a crowd of penguins gathered” and the other person says, “yeah, yeah but i was making my point that….”?

i have.

i have met people who can carry on an entire conversation without letting me say a word and not realize that i have been silent the whole time.

sadly, i’ve been that person, too.

there have been times as a shy teenager that i was quite happy for someone else to carry the conversation.

however, i remember feeling like i walked away without that person getting to know me at all.

i’ve exited conversations without leaving the room as well without the person noticing for quite some time.

actually, my husband gets this from me a lot. shocked? don’t be.

he and i have an agreement of sorts. he is passionate about oysters; how to grow them, how to build infrastructure they need, and many technical details that are beyond my comprehension or interest. my husband likes to talk through “how to…”(whatever it is) as a way to organise his thoughts. he just needs a warm body nearby to hear the sounds so that he feels like he’s talking to someone. he does not need or want input (yet). so, he has agreed during those times, i can “tune-out”, if i will indulge his need to be the only participant in the conversation. when he is ready for input, he lets me know he needs me to listen.

however, feeling surplus to requirement in conversations is extremely frustrating.

i want to be heard!

i want to be listened to!

i, also, want to contribute.

don’t you?

there is skill involved in listening. i believe it also requires a genuine heart and an attitude of respect.

listening is not waiting for your turn to talk, interrupting because you have something more important to say or correcting the other person.

listening is genuine interest.

listening makes you trustworthy to the other person. it means you are willing to learn about who they are and what is important to them- whether or not it’s important to you. you gather the contents of their heart and place value on those contents.

this leaves the person with a sense of acceptance and belonging which is encouraging.

pride will prevent listening. often, people who feel insecure will take on an attitude of pride that insists on proving they are more of an expert on a subject than the person they are talking to.

someone who is unteachable will demonstrate their belief that they “already know” all they need to on a subject projecting their knowledge through dominating the conversation.

this approach causes us to miss the heart of the matter which is relationship. we miss vital treasures. the contents within a person’s heart can bring such richness to our lives. all it requires is the investment -the art of listening.

this point was emphasised to me this past weekend. my ex-husband was sharing some struggles he was having with my son and he wanted me to talk to him. i decided that instead of being judgemental about the teenage symptoms, i would actively listen to his heart. i learned a lot.

he had desires and lack of desire that he wanted someone to hear and understand.

he wanted respect (i’m learning how vital the need for respect is in the heart of all men).

he wanted to be heard as a teen approaching adulthood. he didn’t want one-way conversation or lectures on life. he wanted his voice to matter.

he also had pain in there that he desperately did not want dismissed as trivial, teenage over reaction.

when i listened, i related and remembered times when i had experienced similar desires. i understood better what was making him tick. i was honest with myself that when i did not experience being listened to, frustration resulted followed by the temptation for poor behavior and attitudes.

listening to the contents of his heart helped me to not judge him but come to an understanding that could lead to a resolution that might actually work.

i am thankful for that opportunity. i realised that i have a young man emerging. i could see that although the symptoms were frustrating, frightening and difficult on my heart, there were answers that could bring a positive response.

in fact, i spoke sternly to him on a couple of matters after i had listened. when he replied, his defensiveness dropped and instead if a disrespectful answer, he replied,”yes, ma’am.” i have to say it stunned me for a moment. then i beamed with pride. do you know why? because i have taught my son to show me respect and i saw that the training is in there…it is in his heart. i didn’t demand it, he offered it.

listening is an art.

my husband always tells that a problem always points you in the direction of the solution. if you will pay attention to the problem and discover what is causing it…finding the solution becomes easier.

listening is the genuine paying attention when it comes to relationships that makes success much more accessible.

are you a good listener?

i would love to hear about some of the treasures you have gathered when you took time to listen to someone’s heart. will you leave me a comment? i could do a little heart-content gathering if you did!

thanks for stopping by,
D

don’t wear someone else’s armour

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who’s armour are you wearing?

children find playing dress up a lot of fun. my granddaughter loves grabbing my shoes and walking around the house feeling big. wearing my winter boots is the most amusing…they cover her entire leg and she trips a lot because of the extended, unused portion in the toes. quite cute, though.

i find that even adults play dress up, of sorts, but doing so is not as fun as when we were children. in fact, wearing someone else’s armour (as i call it) can cause grief.

let me share this story with you then i will explain further.

there was a young boy who lived in Israel. one day his father sent him on an errand to take lunch to his soldier brothers. as he approached the military camp, he noticed a bit of a ruckus going on.

he watched curiously. before him was a massive soldier taunting his brothers’ battalion. his brothers and the other men did not look as brave and threatening as he would have imagined them to be in response. in fact, they weren’t doing anything but shaking in their boots.

his steps quickened, he didn’t feel his age, courage seemed to be building within him…bullying is just not right, something needed to be done.

he located his brothers and questioned, “what’s his problem? someone should put him in his place!”

his brothers’ laughed, thanked him for lunch and suggested he retreat back to his father where it was safe. frontline battle was no place for their kid brother.

in the distance he could hear the huge man yelling, “Come on, you cowards…is there not one of you brave enough to fight me! come on, let’s do this! get over here, i’ll wipe the floor with you!”

the taunting angered the young man, “why are you all just standing there? somebody do something. there is no way this guy can win!” no one replied. “then i’ll go! what’s the prize?” laughter erupted. “yeah, right!”

he went to the King who was leading the army and offered to go. he explained how he had successfully protected his father’s sheep from dangerous animals because his God had given him wisdom and strength.

it sounded pretty far fetched but, honestly, there was no one else stepping up to take this bully on. at the resistance of his men, he gave the order for the young man to be dressed for battle. in fact, the King would give him the best armour available…his. he would also give the boy his fine sword. maybe the boy’s blood would satisfy the angry enemy enough for him to retreat back to his camp for the night.

when the men finished fitting the boy with the armour, they presented him to the king. he was ready for this crazy plan. the king questioned whether he was sure he wanted to go through with the whole thing.

“absolutely! i’m not afraid! I trust my God to be with me!” he started to take a step and nearly tripped. the armed host roared in laughter. “i can do this but not with all this armour…it doesn’t fit…it wasn’t made for me. get it off me!!”

the boy laid down the sword, took off
monstrous armour and walked toward the battle field leaving all the men behind him shaking their heads in doubt, “he’s gonna get slaughtered.”

he didn’t, though. he took that gigantic man down -in his own clothes and using his own simple weapon. once down, he finished the bully off with his own sword.

his brothers and their comrades were no longer laughing…they were cheering for him. the enemy wasn’t laughing either…they were running.

who’s armour are you wearing?

are you wearing your own armour or someone else’s?

sometimes, we see what someone else is doing and think, “i should put that on and let it work for me.” the problem is that someone else’s armour (what works for them) was custom made to fit them and their situation.

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what fits their life probably won’t fit you like it does them. you might stumble around and end up falling on your face.

you and i must be confident in what custom fits our life in order to achieve the best results.

my husband and i refer to this story often. we all know that men and women think, act and produce in deferring ways. sometimes, i think my husband should just suck it up and do things the right way…my way. 😜

however, he will say to me, “i’m going to go ahead and just where my armour on this one.” in other words, ” it might be a differing approach to yours but i’ll function better if i use my skills, my way.”

sometimes, i have to remind him of the same.

we all want to succeed. we may admire the success that others have achieved. we may be able to learn wisdom from their journey but we cannot put on their armour and it fit perfectly to our situation.

nor can we expect others to put on our armour and make it fit their lives. parents have difficulty remembering this when it comes to their adult children.

i have had times that i wanted my daughter to take my approach to raising her children or caring for her household. i have also had to respectfully take a giant step back and allow her to take my armour off and be free to put on what fits best for her.

we must trust the person to make their journey in their way using the special specific gifts and skills uniquely designed for them.

we also have to trust the same in our own lives. there are many things that i would love to do but i just don’t possess those specific skills, personality traits or talents. i love to laugh. i enjoy sitting with my witty brother and hearing what he comes up with off the top of his head. i laugh and giggle.

i decided one day that i’d give being a comedian a shot. i chose a handicapped person in the grocery store that i wanted to make smile…and i went in for the kill wearing my brother’s armour that I dearly admired.

i died out there…or probably should have!

firstly, i had terrible material, an inappropriate audience (an unwilling one as well) and my timing was way off. witty, funny or encouraging…those words do not describe my performance at all! i was more like a creepy weirdo. i wanted to crawl in a hole ( and should have!)

my armour would have been to stop, have polite, caring conversation and see if i could assist reaching something that they could not reach. that approach fits me better…works much better for me and people i encounter.

i learned that day that i have no sense of humor 😍 but i am good at offering kindness and a helping hand…and i should stick with that.

it’s difficult at times…

but truly, the best approach is…

wear your own armour with confidence and assurance…it will fit better than anything else you might try!

D

5 things children can teach us about succeeding

20130809-003618.jpgchildren are amazing creatures and we can learn some important lessons from them about succeeding in our lives and reaching complete well-being.

do you realise that children possess the key elements required for success within them from the very beginning of life? they do…instinctively. which means, you possess within you exactly what you need to succeed, overcome difficulty and live a whole-healthy life. i believe it’s not there by chance. it was by design! in fact, i’m sure of it. after all, if we look at nature, every creature and part of nature was designed to perform in every way exactly what it needs to for existence…perfectly.

and aren’t we the crowning glory of creation? the most amazing creature of all that was created in nature and life? why, yes, WE ARE!

this sends my mind down a reasoning path like this: why then, could i ever imagine that i am unable to live my life to it’s fullest? i watch little creatures like birds flutter about making nests, gathering worms, chirping songs, learning to fly, migrating, and everything they instinctively do in their little lives…without failure…and i (and you) sometimes question whether or not i can “do this”.

why?

as we grow, we become conditioned whether conscientiously or not by negative experiences and others around us. often, it starts when we are children because “conditioned” adults do not realise that these essential, designed elements need encouragement and nurturing.

there are 5 things children can teach us about living successfully and fully:

1. excitement. just stand in the midst of a group of children and ask, “who wants ice cream?” the group will erupt with excitement. let a child learn a new skill or draw a picture and they can barely contain themselves as they share it.

excitement is an instinctive element that acts like fuel. too many adults exchange their excitement for a more logical requirement of security. we don’t want to be disappointed therefore we stifle excitement until we are more “certain”. however, we still get hurt, disappointed and have disadvantages. excitement fuels our hope. we need to be excited about our lives. not allowing ourselves to “get our hopes up” does not prevent the disappointment…it stifles our creativity, willingness to try and keeps an under lying current of sadness flowing in our lives.

we can attempt to lead safe, secure lives expecting and waiting for guarantees but we will miss the opportunities excitement with lead us to.

2. persistence. everything we undertake in life requires persistence: losing weight, lasting relationships, financial freedom…and more. often, we give up before we reach the goal because it feels too difficult.

my granddaughter was here last night for my birthday. this is her approach:

Ella: “DD, can I have a milo? (NZ hot chocolate)

Me: “sure, give me a minute and let me finish this then I’ll make you one”.

(seconds go by)

Ella: “milo please”

i repeat my first reply which she accepts.

(seconds go by again)

Ella: “aren’t you going to make my milo?”

if I managed to get through 1complete minute to finish the task…she will have asked for the milo a minimum of 10-20 times in the minute. persistent! until she has the milo in her little hands…BTW, then we were immediately onto, “can I put on your make up”…and she asks persistently until she gets what she wants.

now, as adults, we want them to learn patience, to not be so demanding and stop annoying us. the problem is, we are training them to set aside a vital key to succeeding if we don’t handle it properly. they learn that persistence equals annoyance and it is not acceptable.

i think instead, we should learn from them how to reactivate this key in our pursuit of successful living.

3. adventure. risks are vital to success. children have amazingly adventurous spirits. if someone says they can jump off the roof with fake wings strapped to their arms…they are willing to try. boys will eat worms just to see what they taste like. at 12 years old, i jumped off a diving board because the other kids said i would float. i took the risk and because i couldn’t swim, i nearly drowned. that fear paralysed my risk taking for the rest of my life. children don’t stop to analyse the possible pain that could result, they jump right in.

if you have a big dream, you will have to be willing to take risks in order to see it eventuate. you might experience pain but you might not…you might actually make that dream come true!

4. shake-it-off. watch a toddler learning to walk. he falls down, maybe a bit stunned, but he keeps getting up and attempting until one day…he is walking.

a child learning to ride a bike might fall off but they shake it off and learn to accomplish the goal.

as adults, when we fall or fail, we think, “how could I have been so stupid. i’ll never do that again”. we stop. many times we are told of inventors who failed many times before they found the “one” invention that worked and was a huge success. the key is to shake-it-off…get up (don’t stay down)…and keep trying! success, healing and wholeness will come.

5. faith. the final thing we can learn from children is faith. we all have it designed into our very being.

have you ever tried to argue a point that a child has but their faith into? my granddaughter’s teacher told her that butter was not healthy. since that time, she has refused to eat butter. my daughter told me that the other day she was trying to convince her it was ok to eat butter. ella finally dipped her little finger in the butter and put a tiny dab of butter on her bread. however, her faith in the message that it was not healthy has her convinced and she is not going to eat it. Lol.

faith is also the reason most children believe that on Christmas Eve there will be a visitor who comes down the chimney and leaves them surprises if they have been especially good. there is no need for evidence or proof of the possibility…just blind belief that it must be so…so much so that it alters their behaviour to ensure success…gifts under the tree!

you and i were designed with the excitement, persistence, adventure, ability to shake-it-off, and ability to have faith in order to succeed at forgiving, in our relationships, accomplish our dreams and whatever else we set out to accomplish.

our Creator knew what we would need to produce successful, heathy well-being in the same way He knew what the birds or dolphins and all other living creatures needed to thrive. He knew and He designed us with those elements knit into our being…

just watch little children…it’s there…even without having to be taught!

i think we could watch and learn. if do, we would discover some amazing keys to making our lives the success we long for.

isn’t that “exciting” news?

i think so.

D

being you is success

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i’ve never given much thought to how small or insignificant i might be. i’m far too busy gathering what i need to produce sweetness. i am not concerned whether my product is accepted, approved or required. what i do nourishes me and others…that’s all that matters.

i am far too busy to worry that the flower overshadows my existence with its beauty. i bring it opportunity for multiplication. it offers me morsels for creativity. we need one another. mutual respect for the other’s purpose.

i am happy with my place in the world. i don’t know how long i’ll be around to do what i do…today, the sunshine, the flower and flight. that’s enough – for now.

buzzing, busy, purpose-full…resulting in sweet, golden success. that’s all…but that’s enough!

isn’t it awesome to be you?

D

maturity is like a harness

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Maturity is many things. It is the ability to base a judgment on the big picture, the long haul.

It means being able to resist the urge for immediate gratification and opt for the course of action that will pay off later.

One of the characteristics of the young is “I want it now.”

Grown-up people can wait.

Maturity is perseverance–the ability to sweat out a project or a situation, in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks, and stick with it until it is finished.

The adult who is constantly changing friends and changing mates is immature. He/she cannot stick it out because he/she has not grown up.

Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction. The mature person can face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without collapsing or complaining. He/she knows he cannot have everything his/her own way every time. He/she is able to defer to circumstances, to other people-and to time. He/she knows when to compromise and is not too proud to do so.

Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say, “I was wrong.” And, when he/she is right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, “I told you so.”

Maturity is the ability to live up to your responsibilities, and this means being dependable. It means keeping your word. Dependability is the hallmark of integrity. Do you mean what you say-and do you say what you mean? Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who cannot be counted on. When you need them most, they are among the missing. They never seem to come through in the clutches. They break promises and substitute alibis for performance. They show up late or not at all. They are confused and disorganized. Their lives are a chaotic maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that somehow never materialize. They are always a day late and a dollar short.

Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. Immature people spend their lives exploring endless possibilities and then doing nothing. Action requires courage. Without courage, little is accomplished.

Maturity is the ability to harness your abilities and your energies and do more than is expected. The mature person refuses to settle for mediocrity. He/she would rather aim high and miss the mark than low-and make it.

Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which cannot be changed, the courage to change that which should be changed, no matter what it takes, and the wisdom to know the difference.
-Ann Landers, columnist

The 7 exercises we discussed yesterday will help develop this type of maturity.

Happy exercising,
D

making wisdom practical and functional makes me happy

July 2011 008 i’m feeling a bit carefree today…see disappointments don’t have to weigh our hearts down for ever.

emotions will line up with our goals…perspective and hope are such powerful tools. they help the joy take it’s rightful place and help us lighten up so that dealing with the important things in our lives is not such a daunting task.

jan 2012i love to be around otter personalities. like i’ve said before i’m usually the quiet one but from time to time…i will challenge myself to lighten up, push past the shyness and not take myself so seriously. i find it especially helpful after i’ve faced a stressful day like yesterday. now, i’m not really that good at it. that’s why having an otter personality or two around helps to encourage me to step out on the limb…and let my hair down.

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being silly helps me remember that life is not all work, stress and difficulty.

laughter does good like medicine….that’s a proverb…you know what? laughter really is good medicine for my heart….i have to say i actually really like the proverbs. i don’t always understand all the “lingo”…so i sit and reflect on them, digging for the practical, golden nuggets i can apply. i really like the thought of being successful at what i do… i really don’t want to waste too much time if what i am doing is not going to work. right? i mean really, what sense does it make to keep doing something that is not working. what’s that saying? the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and again but expecting different results.

i, also,love to read quotes and look for how other people view wisdom. you will notice i am sharing a few of my favorites from time to time.

i decided to add a page to my little blog site here…kind of my down to earth approach to what i see as the practical tips i find in the proverbs…there are hundreds of life tips in there that i’ve found pretty helpful. i invite you to have a look.

if you haven’t had a good laugh in a while…hope the pictures i am sharing today will make you chuckle….

if you’re world seems to be piled sky high with stress, responsibility,and harsh realities…you might need to grab  your most spontaneous “otter” friend and take some medicine…laughter…

if you’re friend is not available…here are some of my favourite comedy movies:

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ok, kind of looks like a Steve Martin marathon…what can i say, i’m a fan. then again, i loved lucy, carol burnette, and bill cosby too. now, i’ve dated myself. i enjoy many modern day films as well…but when i need to just have a laugh for silliness sake…well, these are my tried and trues.

tomorrow is a the Queen’s Birthday. NZ is a part of the English commonwealth…we get to celebrate her birthday with her by having the day off…

March 2011 014i will be planning to go play with my grand babies. see you when i see you!

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why not, if i’m being silly…here are their funny faces!

thanks for stopping by,

D