Hi Beautiful Someone,
Sorry for the long post, but I really wanted to share this excerpt from my new book, Yes Changes Everything! Please enjoy, and let me know what you think!
What do you know about Helen Keller? Probably that she was blind and deaf and lived a long and influential life. Me too. But it was only after coming across one of my favorite Helen Keller quotes on optimism that I started to look closer at her life and realize how truly remarkable she was.
Helen Keller was born a healthy baby in 1880 on a farm near Tuscumbia, Alabama. At six months, she began to talk and at 12 months to walk. Before age 2, however, an illness — later they would speculate scarlet fever or meningitis — had taken Helen’s ability to see and hear. She would live in darkness and silence for the rest of her life.
For decades, running the mile in less than four minutes was considered impossible, beyond the physical capacity of the human body. Then one day in 1954 on the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England, something incredible happened: in front of 3,000 spectators, a 25-year-old medical student named Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.
More amazing than the achievement itself was what happened afterward. Though forever, runners had tried without success to break the four-minute mile, within a few weeks, the record was broken again. In a few years, the mile had been run in less than four minutes hundreds of times. Today, the record stands at just over 3 minutes and 43 seconds.
I always feel sorry for lottery winners or people who have inherited great wealth — I really do — because without the financial and professional challenges and yes, struggles of life, they are more prone to depression. They feel weak because their spiritual and intellectual muscles aren’t facing the resistance they need to get strong. They’re often scared and maybe defensive because their guts aren’t being tested, and they don’t have confidence in how they’d react if they were. They haven’t had the joy of seeing themselves rise to new challenges.
It’s just impossible to underestimate the incredible importance of meaningful work and life challenges and experiences.
Is there anything better than knowing — not just believing, but knowing in your bones — that someone is truly listening to you, that they’re “getting it”? The person values your ideas and dreams enough to stop what they’re doing and hear you out.
I’ve worked with thousands of people facing all kinds of challenges, and I have to say that no act of love is more powerful than listening.
I think it’s because listening does more than help us gather information. It shows we have an honest interest in what matters to someone else.
A clear message
Taking the time to listen sends a clear message: “I’m devoting my energy and attention to you because I want to know what you think and how you’re feeling.”
Then the real magic begins: they relax and open up. And when it’s our turn to talk, they listen to us. When we hear people, they’re ready and willing to hear us too. There’s a connection between us because, just by listening, we built a bridge to each other and willingly walked across it.
Listening is an act of love that opens hearts, minds, and even doors of opportunity, but we can’t do it in a hurry. It takes time. Imagine how good it would feel to have someone say to you: “This is too important to rush. Can we talk this afternoon, like around 3? I can finish what I’m doing and totally focus on what you’re saying.”
Why don’t we trust our intuition?
Sometimes, a choice may seem right, all the intellectual facts support going ahead with it…
- He/she says all the right things.
- The job in Chicago has great benefits, good opportunity for advancement, and the company is willing to pay for relocation.
- The apartment we want to buy is close to work, spacious, and available for the right price.
Still, for some reason, we hesitate.
There’s the temptation to say, “What is wrong with me — this is so perfect!” But beautiful someone, when we hesitate, there’s a reason. Something is going on intuitively that we need to trust and pay attention to.