reading people July 28, 2011Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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The medical profession has finally come up with a way for patients to convey the degree of pain they feel. Not completely accurate, mind you, but a far cry from former verbal descriptions. Everybody’s pain threshold is different. It’s a start.
Reading people is very important; not only in hospital rooms, but in everyday life as well. It is only as we put our agenda on pause and tune into the person, or the audience, that we will truly engage with them. Part of an adage from American writer William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) reads Before you speak, listen. Knowing something about the person, or group, with whom you are engaged assures some measure of improvement in the communication taking place. Reading between the lines, what is said, what is not, body language, eye contact, physical posturing, etc., all play a part in sensing the mindset of the other person. And unless they are totally self-absorbed, they should be trying to read your persuasions as well.
Too many of us think that most people understand exactly what we mean when we speak. Do not be so naïve. Irish Playwright and Essayist GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950) said The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Thus the importance of reading the other person. [This becomes more difficult with a larger audience, but it can be done.]
When it comes down to it, it is all about relationships. How well do you know your audience? The person with whom you are talking? How well do they know you? How transparent are you before others? Are you trustworthy? Do people hold confidence in what you say because of who you are? To be believed, you must BE believable. To inspire another, you must speak with authority and confidence. Of course, these things can be faked… for a time. But little cover-up is needed for the truth. (That’s why I trust God: I do not believe He is lying to me.)
There is a certain safety that surfaces when you are in the presence of a person who is trustworthy. We all want it and need it. You need to be both for all the people in your life—safe and trustworthy. So hone your people-reading skills. Listen before you speak. But be such a person that, when you are being scrutinized, you are uncovered as really clean.
Have a nice week,
walls July 12, 2011Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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Walls. Why walls? Support, protection, set boundaries, privacy, safety, beautify, restrain, imprison. We need walls. We all have walls in our lives; some keep us safe; some provide definition; others, keep us from accomplishing our goals. Some walls are physical, solid, immovable (unless you have an M1 Abrams or a Paramount Marauder). Some are corporate, giving rise to good-‘ol-boy clubs and enigmatic alliances. Most walls are personal— built to keep others out; built to protect, to hide, to maintain one’s personal identity and privacy.
At multiple times during our life-span we will confront many walls that are seemingly insurmountable. Many of us will be stopped dead; for whatever reason we will not conquer that wall. We will learn to dwell, contentedly, next to it. At first we might try to climb over it or knock it down; but after a while we will grow comfortable and simply let things stay the same. Worse still, others will never approach their walls at all. They will rise to their level of competence in a field, a relationship, a skill, and never consider that there might be something better, more fulfilling, on the other side of that wall.
There are leadership consultants, counselors, and even friends who tell us to not consider these walls as obstacles, but rather as challenges. Describe it how you will, the wall remains. How will you approach it? Will you approach it at all? If it is a wall of protection it might not be wise to knock it down. If otherwise, be it professional, relational, emotional or mental, you will need to overcome it, push past it, to fulfill God’s design on your life. If you do not you will never be fulfill your quest for purpose; you’ll merely take what comes your way.
We need walls— to guard us, provide us shelter, and to set our ethical, moral boundaries. But certain walls may be more detrimental than necessary. If your walls are private, inner, secret, they may not provide you as much protection as you imagine: they may actually be holding you captive to your own insecurities and unstated fears. God never intends for any of us to live in fear and insecurity. If you need help breaking-out, overcoming, whatever…, find professional, and/or spiritual help. Too many of our walls are in fact more than merely psychological/emotional ones; they have a spiritual dynamic to them as well.
So, start climbing, scaling, drilling, pounding, tunneling, and shelling those walls that hold you back— one hammer-chisel at a time. Trust a friend, and trust in the God who made you, to supply you with the strength you will need for the task. You don’t have to be in this alone.
Have a nice week,
renew your strength July 5, 2011Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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EmPulse for the week of July 4, 2011
Renew your strength
Tired. Run down. Beat. Weary. Weak. Exhausted. These are some words that have become common descriptors in our personal vocabulary. There are some people with seemingly inexhaustible energy— toddlers, teenagers especially (after they get out of bed at 11:00 a.m.), twentysomethings, and Type-A’s. I’m not one of them; are you? There appears to be a collective malady that most of us sleep too little, eat too much, and work too hard (doing the wrong stuff). Something must change!
There is some poetry in the Judeo/Christian scriptures that offers us some good advice.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
This first poem (originally expressed in song) compares those who delight in God, Blessed is the man, and those who do not, Not so the wicked. The first does not walk, stand, or sit under the counsel of the wicked, sinners, or mockers. Of course, we dwell in the midst of such people every day of our lives; but the decision to heed their “insights” is ours. The poet directs us to delight in the law of God. Though to postmodern ears this smacks of conservative boredom, its consequences are timeless— He is like a tree planted by streams of water. Image it, lie back in the grass under the tree and let the rushing water cool your weary soul and body.
The second type, the wicked, are merely picked up by the wind and blown away. A lot like I feel when I lose my focus and faith—blowin’ in the wind (Peter, Paul & Mary), but without any answers.
Blend the ideas of the above song with the final lines of another—
Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Waiting on the Lord is not meditating on emptiness; nor is it simply stillness. Rather, it is the concentration of our emotions, minds, and busyness on the One who can replenish our strength so we can soar on wings like eagles. You get the picture. Take in the view. Don’t let this ancient counsel fall on deaf ears.
Have a nice week,