Posts Tagged ‘success’

3 Surprising Reasons You Need To Learn To Listen

Written by Les Dahl on June 15th, 2016. Posted in Sage's Scroll




After an intensive 2-month study, Professor Paul Rankin of Ohio State University reported that 70% of the waking day involved interpersonal communication.

Of that chunk of time,

  • 45% was spent listening
  • 30% involved speaking
  • 16% was engaged in writing
  • 9% was occupied reading. 

That was 1939 and those were college students. Has much changed since then?

Despite the explosion of technology and information, human nature and the basic human needs have changed very little, if at all. Communication is still a major part of our life and listening remains the cornerstone. 

The often-touted benefits of listening are:

  • builds relationships
  • reduces mistakes and misunderstandings
  • resolves conflicts
  • less wasted time
  • saves money.

Those are plausible results, but consider these “surprising” benefits.


1.  Good listening habits earn respect

A sure way to gain respect is to be a good listener. By listening attentively, genuinely and consistently, you show you value people. In return, they will respect you, pay attention when you have something to say, welcome your ideas and look for your feedback.

"One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

(Bryant H. McGill)



2.  With good listening habits you understand

“Faking attention” as one of the worst and most frequently deployed listening habits. Sometimes it is intentional—we’re simply bored. At other times, our mind ‘plays tricks’.

Researchers say our brains are capable of processing 500 words per minute. We can communicate at 250 words per minute. (The average is between 150-200 words.)

Imagine this scenario.

You are in a conversation with a friend. You’re excited about the topic and talking at full speed—250 wpm (words per minute).

They seem to be listening, but something does’t feel right.

Reality check. Your friend’s mind is racing at somewhere between 400 - 500 wpm. You’re speaking at 250 wpm. What do you suppose their mind is doing with the ‘empty mental space’?

That’s right. It’s wandering into daydreams or wrestling with worries lurking in the shadow of their mental landscape. How much do they actually hear? and understand?

Hearing is easy, listening is hard work. Few people refine their listening skills to not only hear but actually understand what is being said. This select few are successful. 

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.

(Dr. Ralph Nichols)



3.  With good listening habits you learn

(a) You learn things about people.

Knowing about human nature and behavior helps you navigate around hidden shoals—weaknesses, character flaws, personality quirks—that can shipwreck friendship. You learn where open channels of communication flow and move relationships forward.  You learn where and how to ‘dock’ your ideas—say what you really want to say without being misunderstood.

Armed with this knowledge, you communicate with greater success. You don’t take everything personally. You hear people out. You even learn how to agree to disagree.

A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.

(Kenneth A. Wells)


(b) You learn how the people think.

As you listen, you learn how your friend thinks. It’s like discovering their operating system—Windows 10 or MacAir.

Once you know how their mind is programmed, you can ‘synchronize’ your interaction, make necessary adjustments and communicate in a ‘compatible format’. The results are positive and rewarding. 

Listening well and answering well is one of the greatest perfections that can be obtained in conversation.

(Francois De La Rochefoucauld)


(c) You gain knowledge you didn’t have before.

Useful bits of information and nuggets of wisdom are gained with keen listening. Sometimes these gems are hidden in people you least expect. Never underestimate anyone. The janitor or the waitress may have a “piece of information” you need. 

Every person I work with knows something better than me. My job is to listen long enough to find it and use it.

(Jack Nichols)

Without well-honed listening skills, personal achievement and success are confined to the commonplace. Only when good listening becomes a habit will anyone become extraordinary.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.

(Doug Larson)



“Listening: Can Ability be Improved”, Journal of Applied Business Research, Vol.6 No.1

“Listening Myths and Misconceptions”, Skills You Need

“Barriers to Effective Listening”, Skills You Need

“Lines of Communication”, Manufacturing Leadership Certificate Program

“Book of Famous Quotes”, < >

Image by Ambro at

On A Success Scale of 1 – 10, How Do You Rate?

Written by Les Dahl on March 21st, 2016. Posted in Prosperity, Sage's Scroll



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Everyone wants to be successful. It is part of our DNA. We are created to be successful.


But is success something that is achieved? How do you know when you've achieved it? Is success a destination? How do you know when you've arrived?


Merriam-Webster reads, “success: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect or fame.”


Wealth, power and prestige.


But that definition doesn't sit well with me. I've seen too many wealthy, powerful and famous people whose lives are less than desirable and certainly not inspiring.


Three characteristics are common in the definitions proposed by prominent leaders today.

  • success is more a process and a mindset than a destination or achievement
  • success is measured by the value contributed to the well-being of others
  • -the reward of success is a satisfying feeling of having lived well far beyond wealth, power or fame.


Here is my pick of the 10 definitions of success

that best describe my own.


1. Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”

(George Sheehan)


2. "Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."

(John Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history with 620 victories and 10 national titles at UCLA.)


3.Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. Success is overcoming fear. F-E-A-R has two meanings: (1) Forget Everything And Run; or, (2) Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.”

(Zig Ziglar)


4. "I define success as living my true purpose and having a positive impact on the lives of people by uplifting them and inspiring them to think and act in ways that they may not have considered before."

(Raj Sisodia, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism and professor at Babson College)


5. “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


6. "Success, for me, has always been in providing a great quality of life for my family, for those who work for me, and to my community."

(Jeremy Young CEO of Tanga)


7. "To me, success means creating a business that empowers customers, employees, and community in equal measure. We want to add positive value to people's lives, from a personal and professional standpoint."

(Dan Kurzius, co-founder and COO of Mailchimp)


8. "I define success as having a job that you enjoy and enables you financially, a spouse and family that loves and cares for you, children that make you proud by who they are and what they do, having the freedom to worship a loving God, and being able to contribute to the betterment of your fellow man. I am so blessed!"

(E.N Garnett Jr., Certified Crop Advisor, Southern States)


9. "I feel that my life is successful if I can live each day with a positive outlook, have a feeling of contentment with my circumstances, have balance in all the important areas of my life, and have the time and resources to pursue what I am passionate about."

(Marcia Becker, PhD, senior director of Adult Rehabilitative and Rural Services)


10. Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

Jim Rohn


Rather powerful definitions of success, wouldn't you agree?


These quotes brought on a smile.

God gave us two ends: one to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use. Heads you win; tails, you lose.”



Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.”

(Woody Allen)


And finally, some good advice.

An Unfailing Success Plan: At each day’s end write down the six most important things to do tomorrow; number them in order of importance, and then do them.”



Act as though it is impossible to fail.”

(Dorothea Brande:)


What is YOUR definition of success—the mindset and process that keeps you moving on track each day?



A Journey of 1000 Miles – The First Step

Written by Les Dahl on August 15th, 2013. Posted in Uncategorized


document.write(" fantasy;">Have you heard the proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”?  That pearl of wisdom was made by the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu around 500 B.C.  The advice is simple, 'Just take the first step, and you are on your way no matter how far away your destination may be.'

Life's journey may seem difficult and tiresome.  You may feel overwhelmed just thinking about it.  So you decide to simply live one day at a time—enjoy life while you can!

Here are a few journeys taken by some.  Note the final destination of each journey.

  • Going around in circles, always ending up where you started – Destination: Lost
  • Starting out with no idea where you are going – Destination: Nowhere
  • Trying real hard, not making it and then giving up instead of giving it one more shot – Destination: Failure
  • Doing the same thing over and over again and again expecting a different result each time - Destination: Insanity
  • Starting out with the end clearly in mind, feeling the thrill of the journey pulsating in each step, and becoming a better person with every experience whether it be a success or a failure - Destination: Success

So what's involved in taking the first step?

I'm assuming, of course, that you've chosen the road to Success.

Smart choice.

Because while you were still in your mother's womb, your hard-drive was programmed for success.

That's why you feel so horrible when you fail at anything—you are wired for success!

Let me give you three tips on how to take the first step on your personal journey to success.

  1. Decide exactly what you want in life.

You say, “I have no clue what I want!”

No problem,

Let me help you.

Imagine you could wave a magic wand and be, do, and have anything you wanted...

“I can think of a hundred things I'd like to be, do and have!” you say.


Make a list of 100 things. Write them down on a piece of paper.

Put your '100 List' somewhere safe.

Every year or two or five take a look at your list.

You will be surprised to see how many things you can check off: 'Been there/Done that!'

  1. Make a plan.

“I've never planned anything in my life...I don't know where to start,” you say.

No problem. Let me help you again.

If from your list you had to choose only one thingthat you would have to do for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

What would you have to do to excel at that one thing? I mean, to become one of the best in the world!

Also, what would you have to do to really enjoy--I mean really enjoy doing it?

Answer those three questions and you are well on your way to creating a plan for success!

By the way, you don't have to be stuck on one thing.

Ask yourself,

'If I could add one other thing to what I do for the rest of my life, what would it be?

What would I have to do to excel at it?

What would I need to know or do to really enjoy it?'

And now that you're in the groove, you can work your way through the rest of you '100 List'.

  1. Act like it is impossible for you to fail.

“What!” you say, “how do I do that?”

Once more, let me help you.

Imagine yourself enjoying the accomplishment of your goal.

Create a detailed mental picture of you enjoying your completed goal.

Feel the thrill.

Wallow in the emotion.

Feel the feeling!

Now, when you've got that picture clear in your head, when you've got those emotions stirring up some excitement inside you-- start to think, talk, walk, act like your dream is already reality.

Call it swagger, if you like!

Just do it!  Feel it!  And then show some swag!

Start living with that sense of accomplishment, that self-confidence, that inspiration and motivation every day.

Don't your dream today!

“What about all the mistakes I'm bound to make along the way?” you ask.

Mary Pickford, a former movie actress, has a good answer: “If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.”

In other words, if you are willing to fail with no fear, make lots of mistakes with no shame, get up and keep trying, you will most certainly succeed!

So here's the crunch--

the next thought you think...

the next decision you make...

the next step you take...

is the first step of your thousand mile journey.

The steps that follow will lead to a certain destination:

Lost, Nowhere, Failure, Insanity or Success.

You're programmed for success—

decide exactly what you want in life,

make a plan,

act like you can't possibly fail!


Live your dream—today!



Les Dahl


Image courtesy of Digitalert & Simon Howden /