Stop, Look and Then Really Listen and Avoiding double trouble

“Listening, not imitation, may be the greatest form of flattery.”                         — The importance of listening quote by Dr. Jo

Listen up, I’ve got something important to tell you. Hey, I’m talking to you. Yes, you! OK, are you listening now? Wait a minute, you are still not paying attention, are you? I want you to stop what you are doing because I’m only going to say this once. Listening is a lost art today. What do you mean you didn’t get it the first time? Yes, I will say it again, but this time you really need to hear what I say. Ready? Are you sure this time? All right – here goes. Listening is a lost art today. What’s that, you want me to say it one more time? Come on, get the peanut butter out of your ears and listen up. OK, one last time. Listening is a lost art today! Good grief. It seems to get harder and harder to effectively communicate with people every day.

Ear

“I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.”                         — Listening quotation from Lee Iacocca –The biggest problem with communication, regardless of whether the breakdown occurs at home, in the workplace or somewhere in between, is that people have lost their ability to listen to others. That is why it is important for us to recondition ourselves to listen, listen and listen some more. Being a “good listener” requires that we take the time to listen to what people say and what people mean when they say it. When you begin to really listen to what others are saying, you will be in a much better position to respond to what they are saying.
“The greatest compliment that was ever paid to me was when one asked what I thought, and attended to my answer.” Communication can never be a one way street. Effective communication is always a give and take between the parties involved, where the interaction flows – back and forth. Regardless of whether the communication is an informal exchange of information or a private expression of feelings, it is imperative that all parties participate. In order for us to effectively interact with others, not only do we need to get good at talking, we also need to improve our listening skills as well. Anyone can talk, but great communicators are the winners who have mastered the fine art of listening.
“It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.—                        The better you become at listening to what your coworkers, friends and family have to say to you, the better your relationships with these people will become as well. If you are having a difficult time communicating with someone else, maybe, just maybe it is time for you to STOP talking so much. After all, shouldn’t you let the other person share in the conversation too? You should also get in the habit of looking people in the eyes when you talk to them and looking them in the eyes when you listen as well. People trust a person who looks them in the eyes. And finally, learn to LISTEN, LISTEN and LISTEN some more. You will be astonished at how much you can learn from other people and how much you can learn about other people when you have your mouth closed. Stop, look and listen. Now you’re talking!“Talking is the natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and putting down details, but talk generates ideas. Great things come from our luncheon meetings, which consist of a sandwich, a cup of soup and a good idea or two.”                         — Effective communication quotation from T. Boone Pickens –A good communicator learns early on the importance of letting others talk and also learns how to effectively listen as well. Without question, talking is our primary way of expressing ourselves and exchanging information with others. We need to talk and communicate with others in order to lead a productive life. Our relationships with others depend on our ability to effectively communicate what we think and how we feel. If you truly want to enjoy the best life has to offer, I will give you some “sound” advice to follow. It is time for you to break the sound barrier.
You must learn how to open up and project your feelings, your emotions, your thoughts and your personality. You should break down walls that prevent or impede productive interaction and communication with others. You should look for chances to build people up, not tear people down. When you have something to say to others, make sure the “something” that comes out of your mouth is positive and constructive, never negative or destructive.
We should commit to improving our lines of communication and removing any and all sound barriers once and for all. As you systematically break one sound barrier after another, you will find your interpersonal skills and relationships with others improving dramatically as a result. As an added bonus, you will find that breaking the sound barrier will provide you some nice sound “effects” as well.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”                         — Effective communication quotation from Winston Churchill —

Here’s hoping you break the sound barrier today!

Avoiding Double Trouble.

2

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”                         Spanish Proverb

There are some things that just seem to naturally go together. They work hand in hand and are almost inseparable. How could you have baseball without hot dogs? When you think of Ginger Rogers, you just naturally also think of Fred Astaire. And of course there is always mom and apple pie.

It just seems as though the minute you think of one, you think of the other. The list of these dynamic duos goes on and on. But there is yet another duo that is not so dynamic. In fact, they are a destructive duo. When you find one, you can bet that the other is sure to be lurking in the shadows.

This double trouble duo work in tandem to wreck havoc and leave devastation in their wake. They pilfer the dreams of would-be winners. They choke off creativity before it has time to blossom. They fill people with feelings of confusion, disillusionment and doubt. The sole purpose of these despicable bullies is to knock you down and then kick you again and again to make certain you stay down for keeps. Who are these dastardly, sinister, rotten to the core villains? Fear and procrastination, that’s who! They are double trouble and if you are not careful, they’ll be looking for you.

Fear and procrastination. Procrastination and fear. You rarely find one without the other. Regardless of which one you write down first, they spell big time T-R-O-U-B-L-E. One of the biggest problems they create is they seem to literally paralyze their victims from head to toe. Once fear and procrastination set their hooks in you, it becomes doubly difficult to get anything done.

“If it weren’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done.”                         Author Unknown

As soon as you become afraid to do something, you immediately put it off. Once you put it off, then they have you right where they want you. You wait and wait and wait. As you wait, fear weaves its insidiously evil web inside you. It becomes harder and harder for you to summon up enough courage to complete even the simplest of tasks. You are frozen by the fear of failure.

The longer you wait, the greater the fear factor inside you becomes. As the fear grows, the longer you wait. This is not a pretty picture, but it is a harsh reality that cripples the creativity of millions upon millions of people every day. Is there a way to defeat this unsavory couple? You bet there is.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”                         Les Brown

Turning fear into fuel. If you don’t stand up and conquer your own fear, it will show no mercy. It will not stop until it put its death grip around your throat and chokes the life out of you. Its sole purpose is to take absolute control over you and it will if you let it. But do not fear. You can turn your fears into high octane fuel once you realize that fear is only an emotion and you can control your emotions.

You simply need to get your emotions working for you, not against you. You’ll discover that fear is in reality only false evidence appearing real.

“Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.”                         Usman B. Asif

The biggest fear most people have is the fear of failing. Rather than try something that may result in failure, many people opt instead to not try it at all. There is a huge difference between not trying because you think you might fail and giving it your best shot and failing.

While failing is never fatal or final, refusing to give it your best shot can be. Hey, let’s face it, we all fail. Nobody likes to falter or fall short and that includes winners. But winners are never afraid of failing and that is the key. They keep plugging away, getting better and better with each successive failure.

Winners look at failing as a necessary “growing pain.” None of us likes pain and sure, it hurts when you get knocked down. But let me ask you a couple of questions. How much pain have you and your family already endured because you lacked the courage to take a chance and give it your best shot? How much more pain are you willing to suffer by continuing to allow fear and procrastination to rule your life?

You probably answered that first question with “Too much.” I hope you answered the second question with “No more.” Without question, not giving yourself a shot at doing your best and being your best is the biggest failure of all. How can we ever expect to get better if we don’t give it all we have to give? Winners get really good at channeling their emotions by turning their fears into FUEL.

“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.”                         Mary Manin Morrissey

A friend of mine used to say he ate fear for breakfast. Boy, did he have the right attitude or what? Instead of caving in to the temptation to quit, he challenged himself to turn those feelings of fear around and use them as a source of ongoing strength and motivation. You and I can learn a lot from the example he set. Fear is an emotion that we can control or we can allow to control us. We can effectively overcome our fear emotions when we replace them with a fear not attitude.

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”                         Don Marquis

Put in on – don’t put it off. Now that we have discussed how to overcome the “fear” component of the double trouble equation, let’s see what we can do to get procrastination out of our lives too. Procrastination is one of those rotten habits that tends to sneak up on you. You know how the story goes. About the time you realize that you have that nasty old habit, it is already too late and the habit has you.

Procrastination, when working in concert with fear, is like a thief in the night. This tenacious twosome has silently stolen the dreams and aspirations of far too many people around the world. Instead of just going out and doing what they need to do, procrastinators dawdle and dilly dally away one day after another. “Why do it now when we can put it off until tomorrow?” seems to be the motto of procrastinators nationwide. Unfortunately, their laissez faire approach of putting things off indefinitely inadvertently hurts both themselves and their families.

Why do people procrastinate? There are several reasons. Some people tend to put off things that are not really all that important to them. Others choose to procrastinate because they feel it is the easy way out. Another possible explanation for why people drag their feet when they know they need to do something is because procrastinating requires no commitment or effort.

The would-be winners put their feared items on the bottom of their “to do” list or worse yet, refuse to do them at all. Winners condition themselves out of the habit of putting things off. One sure fire way to eliminate procrastination is to always put the things you fear the most at the top of your to do list and then do them first and get them out of the way!

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”                         John Dryden

Like any good habit, it will take a little while for you to get totally comfortable with doing your feared things first. When you get in the habit of doing the things you fear first, you simultaneously vanquish fear and procrastination from your life. The minute you get rid of these two trouble makers once and for all, then anything and everything you have ever wanted is once again possible. Before you know it, you’ll be eating fear for breakfast just like my friend does.

                        Wishing you a super sensational day!
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