The Two Most Important Things

Dear Jack,

There is currently some turmoil in our church.  Without getting into the details of it, and even without knowing each intricate detail myself, I can say that the problems could be much more easily resolved if each decision maker and church member would exemplify two characteristics: humility and the ability to listen.

This isn’t just true of our church, it’s true in the world.  It almost seems ridiculous to even think, but what if the president of the United States, most likely the most powerful man in the world, was humble when meeting with other country leaders, setting aside political agendas temporarily and open to hearing other ideas?  Not just established countries, but third world countries and terrorist countries.  What would happen?  Would we be the laughing stock of the world?  Would we lose our powerful presence and intimidation?  Or would we create more friends?  Facilitate more trade?  Quench certain existing conflicts and keep others from ever even starting?  I believe it’s possibly to be humble in a authoritative way without sacrificing authenticity.  Jesus did it.

I consider myself a fairly good observer of life around me.  And one thing that I constantly observe is people’s frustration when talking to people who are arrogant, and doubly so when Mr. Arrogant also is not listening to the person they’re talking to.  We talk too much.  I’m not being political here – I think the same holds true for President Obama as it did with President Bush.  And I localize it to my profession as well … observing other financial planners at networking events just talk the ears off of prospects desperately trying to break in a sentence declaring their intent to move on.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not claiming to display humility at all times (which would by very nature make me un-humble) nor am I saying I’m a great listener, because I know I’m not at times.  But I think the key to success, whether we’re talking church conflict, foreign affairs, or building a financial planning practice is to be humble and to listen.  It’s so counter-culture that it grabs people by surprise.

You’re turn to talk, Jack.  I’m listening.  Till next time.

Sincerely,
J.

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