Listen First Before You Consider Talking
A Motivational Message from Jim Stovall
Recently, I read a book in which the author attempted to explore and reveal the greatest individual of the 20th century. While there were a number of powerful and influential people suggested—such as Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong, and many others—the argument was made that many of these individuals’ breakthroughs or achievements were simultaneously being sought by other people of the era. For example, a number of great inventors around the world were working on projects similar to those of Thomas Edison. Therefore, presumably, many of Edison’s inventions might have been brought to the marketplace a few months or years later if Thomas Edison hadn’t succeeded first. There were a number of other individuals ready, willing, and able to make a trans-Atlantic flight or moon landing if Mr. Lindbergh or Mr. Armstrong hadn’t gotten there first.
The argument can certainly be made that Winston Churchill stood alone in history as the person uniquely qualified and positioned to preserve the free world. One of my favorite authors, Louis L’Amour, often said, “A person can only be judged against the backdrop of the time and place in which they lived.” Tom Brokaw, in his series of books dealing with the Greatest Generation, pointed out that the individuals who made up what we call the Greatest Generation were great only because history required them to be so.
I have often wondered what Winston Churchill would think about our world here in the 21st century. One of his quotes seems appropriate for our day and time, “It takes courage to stand up and be heard, but it also takes courage to sit down and listen.” We think of great orators or conversationalists as individuals who are skilled in verbally presenting their position and persuading others. There can be no oration or conversation without someone listening.
My late, great friend and colleague, Dr. Stephen Covey, often said, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” Sir Winston Churchill will go down in history as the individual who made some of the greatest speeches at the time when the world most needed to hear his message. If he were with us here and now, I believe he might just sit and listen.
As you go through your day today, listen first before you consider talking.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stovallauthor; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.