I find myself often surrounded by people.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love people, and I love speaking in front of them. However, I am an introvert at heart and do enjoy my alone time as much as I enjoy being with them.
However, over the years, I found myself actually wanting to get away from people who were talking to me. In fact, I would be watching a mental clock inside me wanting to get away.
I hated this in me and asked the Lord for many years to eliminate it.
And then Phil, a dear friend of ours had a stroke when they were in Florida at the same time I had my open-heart surgery in San Francisco last month.
When I came home and they returned from Florida, they visited us. I found myself sitting next to Phil in our living room for two hours, holding his hand, and truly caring, without looking at my mental clock.
And I have not looked at it since.
So what happened?
I think that my surgery reminded me (again) of what pain truly feels like, and how it feels to have absolutely no strength and no reserves, and being totally dependent on others.
So when Phil and Marge came to visit us, I found myself truly caring.
A NEW WAY OF THINKING
Since then, I have been reminded again that we live in a broken world, filled with broken people.
And there is no one living who has not been broken many times in their lives. It might be sickness, or losing your job or your house, or the death of someone you truly love.
It is one of the sad characteristics of living.
Now, although I study psychology, I am not a trained psychologist, or a therapist.
But in my 71 years of living, I have discovered that I can help people; not through therapy, or coaching, or the presentations I have given.
I can help them SIMPLY BY LISTENING.
In fact, most of therapy involves simply listening.
Mary taught me this. When we were first married and she would come home complaining about her job, I would be developing a plan for her while I listened. When I shared that plan, she would look at me in silence.
“Steve! I don’t need a plan. I can develop a plan! I need you to simply listen.”
I had to learn that more than once!
It’s interesting! Avraham Kruger, a professor of organizational behavior at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, did research which revealed that giving feedback to employees, rather than simply listening to them, could actually hurt their performance.
He analyzed 607 experiments on feedback effectiveness and discovered that feedback caused performance to actually decline in 38 percent of cases, whether or not the feedback was positive or negative.
In contrast, truly listening to people often makes them want to change.
So…I no longer look at my mental clock when people are talking to me. The surgery has opened me up (again) to the pain that all of us have faced, and will be facing in the future.
My listening to you (and you listening to others) simply reminds us that ALL of us are in this together!
Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available on line at stevenrcampbell.teachable.com. For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5507.