Better Listening Skills

You learn the ability to listen.  It is rarely inherent.

As a society we all talk too much – pounding it out on digital devices, creating videos, even older adopters who have fallen in love with Facebook risk falling into the trap of making it all about them.

The secret to better relationships is better listening skills.

Without interruptions.

“Mansplaining” is the term women attribute to men who interrupt them, finish their sentences and expect to be heard above all else.

Focusing on the other person’s lips when possible or on the sound of their voice when listening remotely helps improve comprehension.

Don’t interrupt.

Don’t always add in your version of what the other person is talking about.

Try to summarize what you’re hearing (i.e., “so if I am hearing your correctly you are saying…”) 

Try to recall the most important thing you’re hearing at the end. 

The easiest thing in the world is also the most difficult – to gain the benefits of being a good listener resist the temptation to do the talking.

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Change

Embrace change.

It’s going to happen anyway.

The quickest way to become irrelevant is to push back against inevitable change because like it or not inevitable means unavoidable.

We resist and get a reputation for not being on board.

Sometimes we react and find ourselves squarely mired in the status quo.

Looking a bit further ahead, wouldn’t it be useful to be an agent of change where you could have a real say in how change comes about?

Life is a pendulum swinging from one set of values, ideas and conditions all the way to the other extreme passing through the middle.

We see it in politics and it’s available for us to respond to in critical areas of our lives.

Change is a good thing especially when we’re part of it.

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The Answer to Rejection

The answer to rejection is “thank you”.

It’s one person’s opinion even if that person is very influential or is in a position to kill an idea on the spot.

It’s not possible to be successful if you’re going to accept rejection.

So, there are several ways to approach it:

  1. We live among other people’s failures all the time. Aerosmith’s “Dream On” was not the only record launched and re-launched to become a hit because it didn’t catch on right away.  Sometimes it takes people more time to see what you see.
  2. If we seek approval over conviction, we’re watering down our ideas to gain acceptance.

The best approach to a naysayer is “thank you for not seeing the value of my idea or my person” and that’s one way to guarantee that our best instincts are unaffected by those who cannot yet see our dreams.

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Lady Gaga

In her acceptance speech for winning an Oscar for Best Original Song, she said:

“There’s a discipline for passion, and it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down, or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up, and are brave, and you keep going.”

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The Lack of Time

The lack of time is the same as a lack of priority.

Busy is not an excuse, it is a window to what is important in your world.

If children matter, they become a priority and the time takes care of itself.

Couples often realize that they have let their relationships slip when they wind up in a counselor’s office to discover the things that have become more important.

When we work too much, it’s not that we don’t have enough time for everything, somehow our priorities have changed.

An unwillingness to put our phones away and relate to people face to face is not about time, it’s about the addiction to something that gives immediate satisfaction and has somehow become more important even though it eats up precious time.

There is always enough time when priorities are in their proper order.

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