A cornerstone of communication: what’s important to you?

Driving to church this morning, I noticed there seemed to be no oncoming traffic on the Interstate spur. I topped a hill and saw six police cars and two ambulances across the median, surrounding a pickup truck on its side, a truck that looked like a broken light bulb.

I spent a few years as a newspaper reporter and photographer, so it immediately clicked with me that the ambulance and police workers weren’t moving very fast. They were not working a rescue; they were working a recovery.

Someone had very different plans for the morning. That all changed in an instant.

Though they had both lanes blocked a bit further, with a detour at an exit, they had let another pickup truck through. It was stopped a couple hundred yards beyond the carnage, with a door left ajar. About halfway between it and the wreck site, a woman slowly approached the workers, carrying a baby. I have a really bad feeling about why she was there.

The vast majority of people do not plan to die on the day they do. In fact, the event throws a crimp in other plans.

The New Zealand video at the beginning uses freeze-frame to showcase a heart-breaking conversation. (We could have a related post on how important imagery is to clear communication, but that’s a different topic.) Perhaps you have heart-breaking conversations with yourself?

Communication begins as an internal conversation. How often do you stop to consider what really matters to you? The way you talk to yourself about things like that has a lot to do with whether you actively pursue important things, or just drift. We always think we have time later. I often read that people greatly overestimate what they can accomplish in a short period of time, and greatly underestimate what they can accomplish over a long period of steady, regular effort. The key is in that phrase: steady, regular effort.

Take the first step. Today. You never know when someone else will make a mistake that interferes with your plans.

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with people who want to forge top-notch speaking skills to increase their influence and impact so they can advance their career or business. He is associate professor of communication studies at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.