Sunday, August 22, 2010

Noticing Things

I am a people watcher ... I love to figure them out, try to figure out what they are thinking, who they are with, what is their story. I love to 'notice' things about people. I don't think it's a gift - just something I enjoy doing.

I have fallen in love with the author Andy Andrews. He can’t write fast enough for me. Such a wonderful storyteller; which is why I prefer to buy his books on CD and listen to him read the books to me. Recently I had a friend return “The Noticer”, in my opinion one of his better stories. I thought ‘I am going to ‘re-read’ or ‘re-listened’ to it as soon as I can. The book is about a mysterious old man named Jones—just Jones, no mister—who shows up in the lives of people in crisis. Jones brings the gift of perspective—he notices alternative ways to think about things. Some of what he says is common sense: like “yes sir” works better than “I guess”. Some of what he says counters received wisdom: like “do sweat the small stuff, because little things can make a big difference as surely as brushstrokes make up a masterpiece”. Oh – the book is so full of these little bits of wisdom.

I just returned home from “Women of Faith” in Indianapolis yesterday evening. Andy Andrews was one of the speakers! I fell in love all over again with this man. I couldn’t lean close enough. There I was on the edge of my seat listening to this author I have found to be such an incredible storyteller. He spoke of the butterfly effect and how our purpose begins when we realize everything matters. That when we live a life of permanent purpose … team chemistry will thrive. Life decisions become wiser and more cautious. As leaders, managers, co-workers – as a parent, grandparent, friend – when we actually realize that every action matters - then every result of our actions immediately improves. And deciding to do something will make all the difference. There are generations yet to be born whose lives will be shaped by the actions we make today – and tomorrow. We have been created to make a difference in not only our own lives, but in the lives of those we come in contact with. Our lives, our decisions, our actions of today will matter forever. I understand more fully the impact of this as we are on the verge of celebrating Collin’s first birthday. What I do here and now will affect his future. I hope I am more conscious of this in my actions from this point on.

I mentioned that a friend recently returned “The Noticer” CD to me. Last evening I went outside and put the headphones on and ‘re-listened’ to it. Yes – the whole four hours …. It was after 2:00 when I got to sleep! But I was enthralled with what Andy Andrews was telling me (for I felt he was speaking to me alone). When things look the darkest to people in this book - a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul. Communicating what he calls "a little perspective," Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. "Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely," he says. "Don't squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever." Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.
One of my favorite Jones “wisdom” is when he is speaking with a young gentleman “four seagulls sitting on a pier, one of them decides to fly away. How many are left?” The gentleman gives the same answer we would “three”. Jones says “no – four. The one only made the decision to fly away, he didn’t actually fly away,” His point is that we have to do more than make the decision, we must act on our decisions.

There is no doubt I am going to matter in someone’s life, that my actions will shape the lives of my children’s and my grandchildren’s. I know this because I have been shaped by my grandmother Rose and by my parents. This book has become a valuable reminder of that fact. So - it is my decision to act now to make sure that my legacy to those that I meet is that I acted on my decisions – if I said I would do it – I did it. I want it to be said I was a positive influence on their lives, and I made a difference. It will be my goal.
Thanks for letting me ramble …

FYI … interested in borrowing my CD “The Noticer”? Make the decision to ask then take to action to listen. What a great perspective Jones will bring to you.

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