I’ve always been amused by this Norman Rockwell painting. It tells a common story we have all faced at one time or another. People do a ton of gossiping but do they really know the person they’re talking about?
It can be very troubling when you discover that people that should know you well really don’t. I know it happens more often than many of us would like to admit. I’m not talking deep dark secrets here either folks. I’m talking about the basics, like who you are as a person and what your core values are.
Some will say who really knows anyone anyways?
Very few of you know the story about how I got to be the man I am today. I guess when I get around to writing my biography a few more of you will know. To get where I am today has required a great deal of intelligence and cunning. It has required me to be diligent, strong and to maintain a set of immovable core values and a deep sense of spirituality. All of this was put into motion at an extremely young age. There was of course a carefully laid out plan. There needed to be.
To get done what I needed to get done required me to be very strong as a kid. It was quite literally to live or die.
These unfortunate events in my formative years gave me a one-mindedness like no other you may have seen or encountered.
Then there is that proverb about walking in another man’s shoes…not to many have walked in my shoes or quite frankly showed very much interest in doing so.
What has remained throughout the course of my life so far have been those immovable core values and my spiritual beliefs.
The two key components in my list of values are:
– Your character cannot be essentially injured, except by your own acts.
– If anyone speaks evil of you, let your life be so that none will believe him.
My Grandpa Art gave me a list of maxims to live by when I left that community. The maxims weren’t religious either which will surprise most everyone who knew him in his community. My Grandpa Art was after all an extremely hardcore believer (or at least he made everyone believe he was). No folks, the list of maxims he gave me were for the most part just common sense. I got them plasticized and have carried them with me for over 40 years now. The two components above come from that list of maxims.
Many of you may be asking what today’s blog is about. I suppose some of you may even be presumptuous enough to think that I am devoting all of this precious time to talk about you.
There in-lies the problem. It’s not all about you. This blog is about the people in your life who you don’t know anything about. We all fail to get to know them because we are to busy talking about ourselves and thinking about ourselves to take a little time to get to know the other person. We omit to let others talk. We dominate conversations. We fail miserably at listening because we’re trying to formulate an answer before the other person has even finished speaking. We let religion, tradition and belief systems get in the way of family. We let our stupidity, bias and the fear of differences ruin friendships and family relationships. When called out on our bad behavior we blame others and more frequently the person we have overlooked.
At some point we stop evolving or perhaps never even started.
Take the time to get to know that other person you know absolutely nothing about. Set aside your differences. Stop preaching the gospel according to you and start listening before it’s too late.