In horrific detail, we learned from the Joe Paterno nightmare that having the most victories in college football can become meaningless. The McCourts taught us that tons of money and greed are just wrong. Donald Trump made it clear that power and arrogance may sell TV spots, but it’s not a style we wish to emulate.

Victories, money and power are all interesting, but for me there is a much simpler way to bring value to the world.


Really hear what a person is saying. Respond to his concerns. Don’t spend your time while he’s talking formulating your response; so your story tops his story. If you really listen, the person you’re hearing feels better about himself, feels better about you, and wants to be your friend. You become special and he feels special.

Imagine what it’s like for a child to be heard, for a parent or aunt or uncle to crouch down to his level and take the time to understand what his concern might be. The reassurance that comes from being appreciated and understood can obviate the need for hundreds of victories, greed and power. It creates a sense of inner peace and satisfaction.

I had an uncle who really listened. He wore shapeless turtleneck sweaters and baggy corduroy pants, decided at the age of fifty to become a psychologist, and went out of his way to appreciate the wisdom of the person he was listening to.

I know what heroes are made of…

8 thoughts on “I KNOW WHAT HEROES ARE MADE OF… by Art Smukler MD

  1. You know…come to think of it, most shy people I meet are really chatty if you take a moment to listen to their silence first. Sage advice today. Nicely said.


  2. On the money Art. My Mom was the listener for me. She told me I could do whatever I wanted to do. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother. As my business success went global, I would call her from France, Germany, Italy, England, Japan. She loved those calls. We listened to each other weekly at a minimum. I try to encourage my sons & business teams to listen. I teach our sales and marketing teams globally to accurately capture the true VOC (Voice of the Customer). Listening is an amazing advantage in life. I learned from my attorney at BFGoodrich Aerospace to use bound journals because they were better records of travel and meetings. Many of my pals now adapted this strategy too. My notes are the results of carefully listening to those around me. Thanks again Art for your writings.


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