We all want to make an impact on our world today, right? To leave this earth knowing that we’re leaving a legacy. But only a very small number of us get to be in (or want to be in, for that matter) positions that carry enough influence to actually change things. So I propose another way…one that can create a ripple effect of ginormous proportions. And it is a simple, one-life-at-a-time, three-pronged approach totally rooted in love:
- Listen more intently.
- Encourage more readily.
- Give more generously.
It’s so simple that anyone can do it, yet bears a difficulty because it requires you and me to think less of…well…you and me. We’re forced to think of the other guy when we approach it this way. Think about it.
If we were to listen more intently, we might actually hear what others are saying. I am horrible about concocting my response to the other person before they are even finished talking! How am I supposed to respond to what the other person is saying if I have not heard what they are saying. Another bad habit I have is interrupting before the other person is done to interject the response I concocted to the thing they are talking about. You know, the thing that I didn’t hear because I was responding in my head. Kind of humorous, isn’t it? I was unable to find research to back this, but I read somewhere recently that the average person interrupts someone else in conversation every 15-18 seconds. If I would take my focus off myself, I might actually learn something. And imagine the problems, conflicts and issues I could avoid just by listening. Also, listening more intently can lead to the second thing.
If we were to encourage more readily, others mighty actually feel better about themselves and us. My brother has a God-given ability of encouragement, in my opinion. He sees the best in people and hands it out eagerly. If my day sucks, many times I will call him up just to get lifted up out of the rut. Do you know someone like this? I think this is a huge act of love and selflessness. To take the time to realize something positive about another and then to go the next step and speak it. To encourage is literally to instill courage into others. If I am down about my job and receive encouragement from a peer, my attitude changes and my countenance is uplifted. I think intentional listening is closely tied to encouraging. it’s hard to point out the good things of another if you do not listen for them!
Lastly, if we were to give more generously, need would become more scarce, injustices would be eliminated, and love would be spread. The recent movie The Blind Side is a wonderful illustration of this. Michael Oher was a teenager without a home, a family, and a future. That is until he met the Tuohy family. To sum up a very powerful story, the Tuohy family took Michael under their wing, giving him food, shelter, clothes, and a future. Most importantly, they gave him love. What would happen if we all saw the world through the lenses of love like the Tuohys? It is easy to say that the Tuohy’s gave because they had it to give. But we can all give out of our resources. It may be $10 to provide clean water. It may be an hour a week as a tutor to a child that is struggling in school. Or taking assessment of our stuff and giving away what we don’t need to those who need it.
The bottom line is this: each of us has the power to change the world one life at a time. We just have to be willing to put others before ourselves.