Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Re-inventing The Wheel

No matter how old I get (I am approaching another birthday) it still amazes me when I encounter the Re-Inventors. You don't have to travel far to meet them. They are your friends, neighbors, family members. Some are even students (which is even more amazing).

The Re-inventors are impressed by only one thing, their personal experiences. When facing an extreme challenge in life they would rather seek personal experience over experienced counsel. It's time to buy their first car. No need to ask anyone for advice, just hustle on down to the car dealership and let the happy car salesman educate you. He just needs to know how much you want your monthly payment to be. There is no substitute for raw personal experience.

Just imagine this: when I started in my career field I actually used to pay guys to teach me what they knew and how they became successful in that field. What a waist of money! I went to College and then Masters work, it was just like throwing money in the trash. I could have learned it all on my own. What I must have missed by listening to experienced counsel from others rather than charging forward armed with my ideas untested life philosophy.

There is a passage in the Bible that states "there is wisdom in the midst of much counsel." Wisdom easily obtained by just asking others. People all around us who will teach us wisdom. The challenge is to have a teachable attitude. As long as we can listen without thinking about what we are going to say when the other person stops talking we are in at least reasonable learning mode. It is really that simple.

The Re-inventors are not devoid counsel, they surround themselves with people who agree with their point of view. It is usually a small tight nit group of people who stand at the ready for each other should their philosophy or ideas be challenged by someone outside the circle. The mission is not to learn truth but rather to be proclaimed "right".

Good news! You do not have to Re-invent the wheel.


MikeR said...

It seems like listening is on the verge of being a lost art. Your comment that people are thinking of a response before even hearing the person they are supposedly listening to is very obvious to some people. They seem to almost jump up and down because some stray thought has found its way into there conscious and they can’t wait to say it.

The desert fathers used to spend a great deal of time in contemplation and meditation. They thought and listened a great deal. Many times when we are in a situation, an attentive ear can be the best gift we can give another person. It can also be a great gift for us. We are in a hurried society that needs things fast, does things fast and expects things fast. We can’t seem to slow down enough to realize that our lives look like a neon sign for “I’m in a hurry and I don’t care”. If asked, I’m sure most people would say that they do care but it is very easy to look at the life they are living and say otherwise.

Douglas Steere in his book “On Listening to Another”, said that we need to learn to listen to a person who is speaking as if that person was speaking from his heart to God. If we can learn that, we can learn to hear another person from our hearts. That is the way God listens to each of us. He loves us and cares for us and listens to us from his heart.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it come it comes to listening – we need to follow the example of the One who invented it.

Alan Kirkpatrick said...

Great words Mike