“A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month's study of books” – Chinese Proverb
My uncle works at the United Nations tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. During my April visit to Cameroon, I had the chance to spend time with him in Yaounde (capital of Cameroon). We talked about the people of Tanzania and their culture, the differences and similarities between Tanzanians and our Cameroonian society.
By listening to my uncle and asking questions, I got to learn about a country I knew very little about … it almost felt like I had travelled to Tanzania myself. On work and success, we talked about patience and diligence, how my uncle had worked diligently for many years with Cameroon's Ministry of Defense before the international job at the United Nations, and all the lifestyle changes that had come with it. We talked about growing older and how things like kids and family become increasingly important.
Relationships are vital in our lives. They become stronger when we pay attention and make time for those God has placed in our lives – family, friends, colleagues, neighbors.
Knowledge must not only be sought in books, seminars, conventions or school; we can learn a great deal simply by listening to the people in our lives — even from those we come across fleetingly, like that stranger in the bus. Many of the people we are surrounded by are walking encyclopedias in different areas – success, relationships, parenting, spirituality. In order to be wholesome human beings, gaining knowledge in all these aspects of life can be very empowering. I was able to live my uncle's experiences just by conversing with him. Those moments remain memorable because I felt reconnected with my uncle after so many years apart, and also because of the imformation imparted upon me.
“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.” - James Nathan Miller
So, I encourage you to just have a conversation with somebody today. Put away the cell phones, ipads and all that technology and be present in the moment – listen, ask about their work, what makes it special, what lessons they have learned; ask about family, the challenges they have faced in raising their kids and what the future may hold … ask about what makes them come alive and why. Share some thoughts of yours as well. It is amazing how enriching these conversations can be.
Have a fantastic day and cheers to your success!