Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Listen to me! Linda listen!

As of yesterday, little Matthew, master debater and viral celebrity, went on the Ellen Show for his performance in Listen Linda. While I find it funny, there are certainly aspects of his behavior that I would have a hard time with if he was my son. I hope that for the parents sake, he doesn't become a nightmare as a teenager. But more importantly, little Matthew wants to be heard.

I think nothing more delights us than when someone takes the time to listen to what we have to say. Whether it is our spouse sitting down with us for an hour to talk and listen. It gives us a good feeling to be heard. Or a grandchild smiles at you when you walk into a room and tells you about their day, or wants to show you what they made. Or a son or daughter walks across the stage to accept their high school diploma, and listening for their name to be called out. Each of these events can contribute to our happiness. But I think the most significant thing about happiness is that it is a choice we make. I need to be open to being happy. I need to want it. 

Imagine the countless people that are grieving the loss of a loved one, or are going through cancer treatments knowing that the prognosis is not good. There may not seem to be a lot that we can do to help or assist them, but one thing we can do is give of our time and listen. Not to give advice, but really listen. It feels like listening is becoming more and more of a lost art in society. People are too busy to give up their time for others. My wife and I have noticed how much harder it is to have our teenagers' attention, because they walk around with their iPhones in their hands all the time. They can't do dishes without earbuds in and listening to music, rather than talking with each other. Some folks would just be happy their teenagers were doing the dishes without complaining, and I am, but I am afraid we are losing out on making real connections. The task is even getting harder in the classroom to engage the learners so they are able to listen to the teacher or their classmates and participate in real discussions.

So I encourage each of you tomorrow to participate in Happiness Day. Check out Here are some stats from an online survey they are taking on their website.

Q1. If you had to choose, which ONE of the following would you MOST prefer for the society that you live in?
Choice, Results (%)
  • ·         The greatest overall happiness and wellbeing, 87%
  • ·         The greatest overall wealth, 8%
  • ·         Don’t know, 6%

Q2. Which THREE, if any, of the following do you think are MOST important for your own happiness and wellbeing? (Please choose up to three answers)
Choice, Results (%)
  • ·         My relationships with my partner/ family, 80%
  • ·         My health, 71%
  • ·         My money and financial situation, 42%
  • ·         My friends and community, 35%
  • ·         The place/ area where I live, 21%
  • ·         My work, 15%
  • ·         My religious/ spiritual life, 8%
  • ·         My appearance, 4%
  • ·         My possessions, 4%
  • ·         Don't know, 2%
  • ·         Other, 1%

Q3. Which THREE, if any, of the following changes do you think would MOST increase the overall happiness and wellbeing of people in the UK? (Please choose up to three answers)
Choice, Results (%)
  • ·         More equality between rich and poor, 45%
  • ·         Improved health services, 39%
  • ·         Less crime, 37%
  • ·         More economic growth, 35%
  • ·         Less immigration, 34%
  • ·         Less consumerism, 24%
  • ·         More help for disadvantaged people, 22%
  • ·         Improved school standards, 16%
  • ·         Improved transport and infrastructure, 16%
  • ·         Not applicable - I don't think anything would increase the overall happiness and wellbeing of people in the UK, 3%
  • ·         Don't know, 3%
  • ·         Other, 2%
I leave you with a video from the great storyteller of our time, Malcolm Gladwell as he talks about life and happiness. Enjoy listening.

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