In the past month I have really started to realize how crucial it is for anyone with aspirations of inspiring others to be able to LISTEN. Anyone who knows me understands that I love to tell stories and have conversations to the point where most of the time people have to tell me when I need to stop. I truly believe in storytelling as a key to success, especially with things like entrepreneurship, personal development or consulting. I also think that manifestation is a huge part of someone’s ability to achieve long-term (macro) goals while remaining humble and patient in the short-term (micro). I have a lot of thoughts racing through my mind, some silly and others very serious, that I believe I am responsible for putting all of them in to the world for others and myself to articulate on. What I have come to realize is that, now more than ever, people want to add to the conversation but often times they do it without first listening to what others have to say.
With my experience in sales and business, I can say that no matter what you’re selling- a car, a service, a mindset, a personality etc.- no one will buy it unless you listen when they tell you what they want. Have you ever watched a video of Gary Vaynerchuk? If not, close this blog and go look him up on YouTube then come back to this post. In short, he is an entrepreneurial mogul who built his fathers wine business from 3-60 MILLION in a short period of time by using google ad words and YouTube before anyone knew what was happening. The reason I bring him into the conversation is because of his philosophy regarding the topic of listening, it’s legit. He talks about how he is so much more focused on responding to the people who don’t like him because those are the people who are going to help him grow. For instance, I’m sure most of you have met someone who- whether they were an only child or young prodigy, whatever the case- they only listened to the people who said they were great. I also like to focus on the positive but here is the problem I have with people like this: if your goal is to leave a lasting legacy, you HAVE TO LISTEN to the people who say you suck.
In order for a person to develop, grow and change they have to first admit or realize that they are flawed- and that it is ok! The quickest way to defeat is to think that anyone who disagrees with you or holds opposing view points is wrong and write their opinions off as invalid. It would be easy for someone like me who was raised by two loving parents to think that just because mommy and daddy told me I am great, that means my shit doesn’t stink. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there with this twisted mindset and I used to be one of them! I am still working on becoming a better listener but in the past year I believe I have made tremendous strides in this aspect of my life because I realized, IT MATTERS. What I think happens to a lot of people is that they get crippled when someone says something that doesn’t align with what they are used to hearing. In these instances, if a person can stop and REALLY LISTEN- not just hear what they are saying- but actually try to understand the reason behind someone’s perspective, that’s where it starts. Once you can begin to comprehend why people disagree with each other, that is when you can start to adapt or change according to what you feel is the right decision.
Being in a positive state of mind is really important to almost all successful people which is why you will rarely, if at all, find me being negative. With that being said, I have come to realize that sometimes the best way to over come any type of negativity is to embrace it and LISTEN, then try to find a solution. Instead, what a lot of people do when faced with negativity is- they delete it or try to “shut it off”. If someone says something bad about me I really don’t get upset like most people would, I simply just try to figure out why that person feels that way and then determine if it is something I believe I need to change. If it is something I can change, I start working on it immediately with patience, knowing that nothing permanent happens overnight. The main point here is that instead of IGNORING opposition, negativity, and different perspectives, what we should do is try to understand the REASON WHY. The only way I know to find out why people think differently than I do is to LISTEN and that is why it is a very important skill to have if your macro goal is to have a positive impact on as many people as possible.
I believe that we are all just works in progress our whole lives and there are always going to be certain things that we can work on individually. For me, and I hope for many of you, the thing I’ve realized that is most important to work on in the next 8-14 months is becoming THE BEST LISTENER EVER!
Until next time,