December 23

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Don’t give presents. Give this instead!


People don't care how much you know until they know how much you careThe holiday season is both a wonderful and challenging time of the year.

We decorate the inside and outside of our homes with lights and decorations. We plan and attend parties for work and friends. We exchange gifts with family and friends.

We bake cookies, treats, and other special foods. We travel to see others, or others travel to see us.

We go to church on Christmas Eve. And, we gather around with family and friends on Christmas day.

We are generally happy and cheerful to everyone we meet. We are more generous helping charities and dropping money in the bucket for the Salvation Army.

The Holiday Hustle

It’s also hustle and bustle for most of the month. It’s both enjoyable and exhausting at the same time!

Do you ever feel like there’s so much pressure to get everything done? Is your head spinning with all the things you feel that you have to get done?

Quite simply, are you trying to do too much?

I know I have been guilty of this in the past.

I’m not going to tell you to stop trying to do too much. That would be a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to suggest that you really focus on the purpose of Christmas.

Focus on the Purpose

The purpose of Christmas is to let people know that you love and care about them.

Yes, there are many traditions that we follow. There may also be some peer pressure to keep up with what everyone else is doing. But in the end, the main priority is letting people know that we love and care about them.

The Christmas story has lots of meaning but its most important lesson is the power of giving. God gave humanity a present in the form of Jesus Christ. And, Jesus gave us his presence.

His teaching and the example of how he lived his life is a gift that is so powerful that it has lasted for two thousand years.

If you know any of the stories of Jesus’ life, he did not give physical gifts or money. He gave people the most precious gift that anyone has to give – his attention and his love.

The Most Important Gift

While giving someone a physical gift is a gesture of how much you care, there is nothing more important or valuable as being present, looking someone in the eye, and listening to them with your heart.

It is certainly important to tell people how much you care about them. However, looking them in the eye and really listening to them shows how much you care.

Being willing to show people that you love them with your attention and your actions is infinitely more powerful than just saying the words.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Bring Your Presence

Being present with others by giving them your attention and truly listening to them is the best way to let people know you care.

While our lives this holiday season are filled with lots of activities, and our minds are spinning with “To Do Lists” and distractions, just remember that the most important gift we can give, especially those we love, is our mindful presence.

Look them in the eye, give them a loving smile, and really listen.

Use the 2-Second Rule

In a recent podcast, personal development guru, Brendon Burchard, suggested that we each consider implementing a 2-second rule.

When you listen to someone speak, pause for 2-seconds before you start talking. Keep looking at them, smile, and nod so that they know you have really heard them.

When you give someone a hug, make it a 2-second hug instead of just a quick hug. Let the person know that you really mean it.

The extra 2-seconds will make all the difference in letting others know that you are present and really care about them.

Make a Meaningful Connection

After all, what’s the purpose of talking to someone if they don’t feel you heard them? What’s the point of giving someone a hug if they don’t feel like you really mean it?

It only takes 2-seconds to make your connection with others meaningful.

When you make yourself take 2-seconds to pause and be present, it forces your mind to slow down and focus on the other person. It takes the focus off you and puts it on them. That’s when the real connection takes place.

Here’s the Midlife Lesson:

During this holiday season, while you are giving presents, also make sure to give your presence. Use the 2-second rule to let people know that you really care about them. It is the most precious gift of all.

Here’s the Mighty Challenge of the day:

  1. Use the 2-second rule at least 5 times today with other people.
  2. Pay attention to how they respond when you do this.

Bruce Fleck

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