“The biggest communication problem is we listen to reply, instead of listening to understand.” 

There are upheavals all around us, and it might seem sometimes trouble is everywhere. And there ARE things wrong in the world, BAD wrong. But sometimes we look through the lens of negative expectations, and then that’s all we can see.

On the other hand, every day I experience smart, talented, creative people who are finding their way in the world, breathing life into dreams, working hard to learn and grow and make things happen. These are people who listen, and take in what is all around them, because they know that only by being ok with what they don’t yet know, and being willing to learn it, can they be the very best at what they do. The older I get, the more true this becomes. There’s not this magical group of people out there who have it all figured out, and the rest of us who don't. Instead, there are people who are willing to admit what they don’t know and constantly educate themselves, and people who build walls around themselves to keep up appearances.

No matter what our work, if we listen, really listen, we will learn from each other what we need to get along, to be successful, to mend and grow our communities, to work on solutions.

So stop worrying about what to say next, or what people might think, and really hear the people around you. Ask, and listen, particularly to those who don’t look or think like you. You lose nothing by listening, and have everything to gain.

Here’s to the end of 2016, and to a 2017 full of promise and possibility. Keep dreaming.

Happy New Year.