We live in small boxes today surrounded by massive walls to keep intruders out.

26 Jul



The first self-help book I ever read was “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. I just finished school and was looking for an inspirational book in a tiny, poorly stocked book store in Windhoek in Namibia. I came across Dale Carnegie’s book in the scant selection of books on a shelf right at the back of this dusty store. I unashamedly admit today that although this was the first “motivational” book that I ever owned when it still remains one of the top ten books I ever read when it came to practical advice regarding people skills. Many of you might have read the book or still have a copy on a shelf in your library. I would suggest that you read it again. It will refresh your memory on one of the most important principles when it comes to compassion. It will remind you that you can make more progress in all areas of your life if you develop a sincere interest in others. Dale indicates in this book that you can make more friends in two months by developing an awareness of the interests of others than you could achieve in two years using any other method. 

We live in small boxes today surrounded by massive walls to keep intruders out that might dare to enter our comfort zones. We shout at each other over these walls and only on very rare occasions lower our draw bridge and venture out or invite anyone into our domain. Most of us go around with our defense shield up and remain on guard twenty four hours a day. The political climate that we live and work in might also have something to do with this unhealthy behavior. We need to open up and become more vulnerable if we want to escape the deadly ruts that many of us fell in over the years. Some of us feel lonely and need friends, companionship and fun, but we often forgo on these desires because of our fears and warped self-interest. Everything revolves around us and our own dreams, desires and choices. We look at life, people and places through a self-interest one way mirrors. Our interests always come first and the interests of others never really feature at all. We have this “What is in it for me” attitudes that fail to address the needs of anyone else. 

When last did you manage to get yourself out of the way long enough to listen and experience any human being, family member or friend with an open mind? Many of us developed a sick habit of judging everyone. We endlessly scan people for flaws or potential threats. We fail to listen to them when they talk. We listen to the first few words of their sentences and then jump to conclusions. We look at people through eyes that fail to see the pain or desperation in them. We listen to what people say and fail to read the subliminal call for help that they are possibly to proud or ashamed to express. Do we care enough to really hear what our partner or children are telling us? Are we alert enough to feel the emotions of the person that we are communicating with? I think we all of us might have some work to do when it comes to mastering the art of putting the interest of others first. 

When last did you compliment anyone on anything? We as parents tend to only give attention to our children when they are sick or when they did something wrong. We as partners only become interested enough when our relationships begin to fall apart. We fail to notice the cracks and peeling paint in our relationships. We are so busy with our own agendas, self-interests and objectives that the pain and frustration experienced by our partner bounces off our egotistical shield. Can you see what major difference a shift in attention can make in your life? Can you accept that life is not only about you and your plans and goals? Can you understand that the formula for success is that your success if virtually guaranteed if you help enough other people to achieve their own goals and dreams? 

So I suggest that you shut up the next time anyone talk to you and listen carefully what is said and what is not expressed verbally. God supplied you with two ears and one mouth. You must listen more and talk less. Put yourself in others’ shoes and ask yourself if you really know the story of the person that you are talking to. Stop jumping to conclusions and stop judging people on hearsay and second hand data. Stop forcing people to communicate to you through their history. Start each day with a new clean slate. We have so many prejudices and perceptions about everything that is cast in stone that it became impossible to see thing as they are in the moment. Set yourself free by putting the interest of others first for a while. 


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Posted by on July 26, 2016 in WISDOM



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