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Deep listening is a powerful agent of change.

Updated: Jul 30, 2023



First things first... Why should you care?

Our emotional state dictates the quality of our life. The 30 Days of Positivity Challenge is a daily personal challenge designed to condition the mind and body to maintain a positive emotional state. Our mindset contributes to 80% of our success. So, this challenge forces you to reprogram your mindset for success. When we're in a good mood and have a positive mindset, the probability of us being more productive, having better relationships, and making more money goes up. On the other hand, when we're in a bad mood and have a negative mindset, the opposite tends to occur.

Imagine living in a mansion but you're always upset, stressed, anxious, or sad. On the other hand, imagine living in a townhouse but you're always peaceful and happy. Your quality of life has everything to do with how you feel about yourself and the world around you. Your focus becomes your future. So, focus on nurturing a positive emotional state. Our feelings give us clues about the state of our emotions and environment, and tell us if we're progressing in the right direction. Progress equals growth. This challenge helps you to grow positive feelings to attract positive people and things into your life.

Let's get started with today's challenge!

Let's Get To The Point

Listening is one way our bodies receive energy from other people. When we listen, we open our minds to information that has the ability to change our emotional state. Think about it... when we listen to something funny we tend to feel better. When we listen to something sad, we tend to feel drained and defeated. When we listen to something that's educational, we tend to feel empowered and enlightened. Be careful of what you listen to and how you listen, because listening truly is and exchange of energy. Your challenge today is to answer this question: What should you be listening to in order to improve your life?

Full Transcript

[The following is the full transcript of this episode of the What They Don't Teach You In School Channel. Please note that this episode, like all episodes, feature speakers that are often unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, the What They Don't Teach You In School Channel one of the most authentic and insightful channels that provide real ideas to help you save time, make more money, and improve the overall quality of your life. Don't forget to subscribe to our website for more free content like this.]

Donnie Thomas:

Today is day 18 of my 30 days of positivity challenge. I did not post on day 17, me personally, because I needed to rest. And rest is a powerful, powerful agent of change, which I'll be focusing on today. But for day 17, I did post a video that brought a smile to my heart. Hopefully, you've watched it or you'll watch it and it brings a smile to yours, but along the lines of the discussion about change, it was really ignited by the conversation I was having earlier with some colleagues about listening. And I'll get to the connection between listening and change a little bit later, but just follow me for a little bit. Listening really occurs on three levels. Level one, two, and three. Level one is when you are listening to respond, rather than listening to understand the full scope of what someone is saying in order to respond accurately. And with the intent, the moving the conversation in the right direction, you are listening to prove points versus listening to understand and receive the fullness of what someone's saying.

Donnie Thomas:

Level two is when there's this beautiful dance between two people, the transactions or the transmission of information going back and forth is seamless, it's with all positive intent. This is where values tend to show up. I understand that person's values. They understand my values. It's received and given with positive intent, but this is also where those vulnerabilities show up. And we're able to tackle those in those conversations in a meaningful and loving way.

Donnie Thomas:

Level three is the best place to be. It's that out of body experience, where, when I mean, I say that it's necessarily the best place to be because all level three experiences are not necessarily the best, but there's this out of body experience where it's just you and that person and nothing else. Some of us experience level three when we have moments of crisis, we have to listen intentionally to everything that that person is saying. We're understanding their body language, their inflection of their voice. Everything is just lasered in, but the moments where many of us probably understand, because this is how it shows up in our lives, is when we are in love with that person, you're in love with that person. You're just sitting there like, "I love you, how was your day?" Because you can't do anything else. You're so smitten, you're so focused in on the being of that person and the being of that moment that you're listening and receiving it on a totally different level.

Donnie Thomas:

But the one thing that really connects all levels of listening is that you are receiving and through the receipt of information, you spark change, right? Because the information that you put into your body impacts your perspective and your thoughts, and when your thoughts are compacted, that impacts your actions and what you put out into the world and thoughts become things.

Donnie Thomas:

And many people that I work with, or some people that I encounter, they like, "Oh my God, that's a bunch, that's a load. I can listen to what I want to, I can watch what I want to." But people with skin conditions will tell you that when you change your diet, you will change how your skin presents itself to the world. It's no different for what you put in your ears and what you put in front of your eyes to watch, because it changes your spirit. It changes the being of who you are. Sometimes it changes it for the best. Sometimes it changes it for the worst. So you have to be very mindful of how you receive and process those things, but people sense energy. And when you are filled with negative energy, it will spill out into the people around you and they will not want to be around you because they don't want it to change them. They aren't strong enough to handle some types of energy of change, and agents of change, right?

Donnie Thomas:

So when I look at the dimensions of change, I put them into four different buckets, internal that I can control, internal that I can not control, external that I can control, and then external that I can not control. And I tend to focus on internal and mostly those things that I can control, because I often say you can only control what you can control. And that is yourself. So internal will be my focus. There's nuances around external change, which is really focused and centered around influence. You can influence things externally, but not always change them.

Donnie Thomas:

And there are some things within yourself that you cannot control, but you can influence them. I can't change or control the fact that my cells are going to age and die, but I can influence them to slow that process up a little bit, by putting better things in my body. Sometimes you can't control that your mind goes to a negative place. Our thoughts just wander. Something happens in our physical space and it triggers something. "Oh my God." But I can influence it in a positive direction by putting positive things into my mind, because that's how you build. That's how you build your strength, right? It's like going to the gym. You don't just go to the gym and all of a sudden, you're just the strongest person. No, you have to exercise that muscle. You have to exercise the muscles of change because not all of us are open to change.

Donnie Thomas:

Many of us are change-averse and that's okay because everybody has to start from a baseline. And everybody has to realize that change is inevitable whether or not you like it or not. Nothing you can do about it. That's why we have seasons, nothing you can do about it. The only thing that you can do is prepare for the season to come. You aren't going to say, "Oh my God, I can't believe, I'm just going to complain about winter coming." No, you're going to go out there and you're going to go buy some winter coats. Or if you can't afford winter coats, you're going to buy several layers of things or go to the Goodwill to pick up a coat, something. You're going to prepare.

Donnie Thomas:

But the first thing that we run into, the first biggest challenge that we run into when it comes to change is how we talk to ourselves, right? How we talk to ourselves. And there are three things that I tend to do to try to embrace change, and become a lot more open to it so that it is much more of an easy process. One is I listen to myself and I talked to myself a lot differently, but listening to yourself is the hardest thing in the world. Right? Yesterday, I listened to myself. I listened to my body because my body said, "You need to sit down." So I sat. Easy discussion, right? Everything is always going to be that easy. You're going to stay at that job for longer than you need to stay at that job, even though you should have left because you have been having that internal dialogue with yourself and you haven't listened to yourself because, I believe, yourself didn't tell yourself, or give yourself a true reason why. It was bad, but it wasn't that bad. You didn't really have a reason why. And many times we won't change until we're forced to.

Donnie Thomas:

Look at us all now sitting at home. A lot of times we won't change, or we won't do that project that we've been meaning to get around to in the garage for however long, until we're forced to. You won't call up that relative that you've been meaning to call because they're so important to you, until now you're forced to. I remember when I went to a training one time and the guy said, "You know what the secret to change is? The first step is you got to come up with an alarming reason, alarming reason why you need to change." And this is for things that are really, really, really hard for you to change. You have to come up with an alarming reason. And many of us haven't come up with an alarming reason. So you sit in it until you're sometimes forced to, right? And listening to yourself again is a very hard thing to do, especially because you're fighting with yourself.

Donnie Thomas:

The second thing that I try to do is I try to always lead with compassion. It's so interesting that right now we have millions of Americans sitting at home. We can't sit in the house for 10 seconds without, "Oh, I need to go out. I need to drive around for four hours just because," but yet we justify the incarceration of millions of men and women across America for the most minuscule things. And we say, "Oh, well, they were criminals. They stole $100 worth of something. Lock them up." Real easy for you to say that. Now, how do you feel about that while you're sitting in a similar situation with only a fraction of the restrictions that they have?

Donnie Thomas:

Got to have compassion, because you never know when you're going to be sitting in that same situation. And now you have a whole bunch of Americans, "We need to get out, let us out, let us out. This is unconstitutional. It's cruel and unusual punishment." Well it's cruel and unusual punishment for people to be sitting in jail for years upon years for petty things. "Oh my God, they had weed." Now weed is being legalized nationally, and now you have folks clamoring toward it as a business opportunity. Stop it. Compassionate only comes now that people are making money off of it. And so I tend to lead with compassion.

Donnie Thomas:

And then the last thing is building communities of trust and openness because sometimes people won't allow themselves to change when they aren't in an environment that's conducive for change. The environment honestly, is really the basis of change. A flower can't grow if it's in the middle of a desert. Not going to happen, not a rose. A rose won't grow if it's in the middle of a desert. You have to create the conditions for change to happen, trusting and loving and nurturing conditions for the change to happen. Because if those things don't happen, it will never happen. That's it. And I'll end with this. Socrates said that, "The secret to change is not in fighting the old, but in building the new." So what are you focusing on building for yourself, for your family, for your legacy? Think on it, have a good day.


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