Often you can learn the most by staying completely silent.
As I sat on a couch listening to a brilliant man explain his reasoning for why he acted the way he did, I found myself in a state of amazement. Even though he was very young, he already had accomplished more than most people twice his age. As he spoke about his goals for the future, I could not help but sit in awe at his wisdom that was far beyond his years.
Each life move was carefully scripted in his mind to achieve an outcome. His reasoning and logic kept him contemplating what his next five moves would be depending upon the situation. He had carefully thought through each possible outcome. He knew what he wanted and how to get there with almost everything in life, but when it comes to approval from his father, that was a case he could not break.
Most people act as a result to their surroundings, few people intentionally set forth on a course of action to achieve a desired result and actually see it happen. This guy had that mentality. He knew what he wanted to accomplish and how he was going to do it.
Instead of offering advice, I sat still and let him speak. He needed to get out some feelings that obviously had been inside for a while. Over time I have learned that when friends have something on their heart, the best thing you can do is sit back and listen. Let them express their emotions.
Back to the couch conversation. As my friend continued to tell me about his view of life, I began to connect the dots of how his life actions were linked to his father. All he wanted was his respect and the self fulfilment that he had made his father proud. Is that too much to ask?
His actions were motivated by his desire to receive the respect of his father. In his mind, no matter how successful he was, his dad failed to recognize it or even care. While this may not have been the case, this was the message that was being conveyed to the man. To this point in his life, every decision he had made was influenced by how he could make his dad proud.
How many of us have lived our entire lives trying to impress someone else? If you are not careful, it can consume your entire being.
If you are a parent, tell your kids that you are proud of them. If you are spending your life trying to please someone else, be careful because they may never take notice. To help fill that void in your life, pass on gratification to someone else. It could change their life.