Listening – truly listening – is a lost art form. We spend so much time running from one place to the next, often with cell phones glued to our ears, that we miss the opportunity to hear what others have to say and the lessons they may have for us.
I’ve been consciously making the effort to not only listen to others, but also to actively reach out and connect with people I meet as I go through my day-to-day life. Each time I do, I am amazed at the richness of the lives of the people around me:
- From a cab driver – He was born in Honduras and his family could only afford 3 years of school for him. When he was 10, his uncle visited and said that he would provide schooling for him. So he went with his uncle to a town 6 hours away from his home. After 2 months, the uncle said he couldn’t afford schooling and housing him and put him out on the streets. He performed all sorts of odd jobs and ended up walking to the U.S. because he heard of all the opportunities in this country. He was 15 when he finally got here and is now married, with 2 kids, and works as a cab driver. He is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met, and truly inspiring.
- From an elderly woman – She was living in Tokyo when the U.S. bombed Japan during World War II. She became one of the first female TV newscasters in Japan and developed quite a fan base. She met a number of famous personalities such as Pierre Cardin and Bob Hope…as well as a dashing U.S. soldier who became her husband. They were married for nearly 60 years before he passed away and I consider their love story a romance for the ages.
- From another cab driver (I take a lot of cabs!) – He is an Ukrainian who competed and won the silver medal in fencing at the 1964 Olympics in Japan. He shared with me his love for the sport, the excitement of winning a medal, and that he moved to the U.S. to build a better life for his family. HIs proudest moment was not when he won the medal, but rather when he saw the opportunities his children had.
Everyone has a story within them that needs to be told, shared and learned from. What’s your story? And how will you connect with others to not only share your story but also hear theirs?