A Life That Matters

Ready or not, some day your life will come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived at the end.

So what will matter?

How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built.

What will matter is not what you got, but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.

It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.



Active Listening

–  Keep your mouth closed (It’s felt that if your mouth is open your ears will close).

–  Keep eye contact (this helps with attention levels).

–  “Listen” to the speaker’s body language.

–  Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal (counter argument)

–  Acknowledgment can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.” You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander

–  Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh

–  Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…” are great ways to reflect back.

–  Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean?”

–  Take notes (this will help with paraphrasing) .

–  Don’t frown and fidget.

–  Let the person know if you have accepted or rejected what they have said and the rationale why..

–  Don’t suggest words or finish sentences when a pause occurs.

–  Listen, don’t solve or judge.

–  If time is an issue let the person know and schedule more time, or ask “let’s summarize what we’ve decided”.

–  Let the person know if more facts are required prior to decision making or for further discussions.

–  Be aware of your “non” listening behaviors ex. pencil tapping, raised eyebrows, blank stares, “zoning” out.

[via book For Your Improvement by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger and MindTools]