One of the most important things I have learned is that everyone has a story to tell, you just have to take the time to listen. American philosopher, William James, said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” All it takes for most people to feel appreciated is for others to take an interest in them. Sometimes we are so caught up in trying to get our opinion heard, that we miss out on learning valuable lessons from those around us.
When I lived in Michigan as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I met several people who taught me a lot that I cherish in my everyday life. One of those individuals was Tom Springstead. Mr. Springstead used to be a member of a major gang in Detriot, MI. While I visited Mr. Spreadstead several times to read the scriptures to him since he lost his sight, there were also valuable life lessons that Mr. Springstead was able to share with me. This lessons allowed me to have a new perspective on life. Mr. Springstead passed away a few months after I met him. If I would have only been concerned with myself and didn’t take the time to listen, I would have missed out on the opportunity to learn from Mr. Springstead.
Often times, the things that are right are not the most popular. Instead of trying to understand someone else’s views, many people are often close minded and stuck in their ways. Many people allow their obsession to be right, to drive them to do radical things. There have been several assassinations and assassination attempts of US Presidents and other powerful world leaders because people do not agree with their ideology.
In his inaugural address a few years before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy said, “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration. Nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” We have to recognize that a big change starts with a simple idea. Instead of simply thinking that we are always right, we have to learn to see things from other peoples point of view
Someone’s ideas or views should not have to be earth-shattering for us to recognize and appreciate them. If we spend all our time trying to make others think that we are important and trying to feel appreciated by them, we will miss out on the important things we can learn.
American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “Every man I meet is my superior is some way. In that, I learn of him.” If we strive to live this philosophy in our life we will not only be able to learn important lessons but we will also build better relationships with those around us.