Some things matter more than others, but make no mistake, everything communicates. Everybody always gains by good dialogue. I can’t remember the last issue from over communicating; they all seem to be from under-communicating. Insist that others be clear on details. Clarity does not always come with time – if you are unclear on the front end, you will most certainly be unclear when you are underway. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
All that God wants you to know is perfectly laid out for you in the Bible. For example, just who is the Bible for, the super religious or just your pastor perhaps? “I am teaching you today – yes, you – so you will trust the Lord” (Proverbs 22:19). Okay, but being so old, is it still relevant? “For the word of God is alive and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). How often should you read? “Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8). Perhaps you’re over exaggerating just a tad? “These instructions are not empty words – they are your life!” (Deuteronomy 32:47)
Most values are taught through upbringing and then we go through life trying to reason if things are “good” or “bad”, or even if we should care at all. The problem with this is we simply don’t have the ability. You see, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8). Fortunately, we can adopt God’s thoughts and value systems and it’s clearly laid out for us in the book that must become a constant, the Bible. Abraham Lincoln (Honest Abe) insisted, “But for this book, we could not know right from wrong.”
If there ever was a golden rule of communication – listening is it! Listening intently speaks far greater volumes than you can ever speak. If you think of someone that is well-liked, most times it’s not because they have the latest joke; it’s because they are terrific listeners. They will encourage others to talk about themselves and then listen, giving them the gift of attention. Great listeners pay careful attention, looking the person speaking in the eyes with genuine focus. Listening well can propel you in every area of life; however, Dr. Mark Rutland says, “Listening is among the most underdeveloped disciplines of leadership. The best leaders know that listening is not just waiting to talk.”
Growing up, my brothers and I were taught to say, “Yes sir” or, “No, ma’am” out of respect for anyone older than we were. We would receive compliments, such as, “Aren’t you a nice gentleman?” with a pat on the head. However, looking back, this simple action did far more for us to set the precedent to respect others than it did for the recipient. It was a constant reminder to respect others. After all, we are to, “never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would your own father” (1 Timothy 5:1). Respecting others is how you express value. In a crowd of people respect is often lost. Next time you’re at the mall notice if you give way or turn to respect oncoming people. There are a number of ways to show respect. You can “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged” (Leviticus 19:32).
A tour guided water taxi took my wife and I along the waterways of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we passed world renowned mansions, marinas and mega-yachts along the way. Our tour guide made jokes and criticized how the owners made their money or how some were uneducated and must have achieved their wealth by the luck of the draw. I so badly wanted to stand up taking the microphone and say something like this:
When you commit to learning, finding a mentor can be difficult. Not only do commitments and schedules need to align, the mentor and mentored need to be compatible on a multitude of levels. Fortunately, some of the brightest and most highly esteemed mentors of all human history are available 24 hours a day seven days a week. People you could never dream of having access to have poured out their lives’ discoveries in the form of a book for less than a cheap steak. Books give you the ability to have hundreds, even thousands of advisors and victory depends on having many advisors. Proverbs 24:6