15 January 2014

Most people are aware of the importance of giving, whether they do it or not, but life’s not just about giving. It’s about being able to receive as well. This is something I’ve only learnt fairly recently. Whether it’s a criticism, a gift, an opportunity or a piece of advice, it pays to be able to take on board the things that other people send your way.

Whilst I know this now, there have been times in the past where I could – and should – have taken up offers from other people. I’m not one for lingering over regret as I think that mistakes are a part of life and can help you learn, but with the gift of hindsight it’s easy to see where you might have gone wrong or could have done better.

I heard a story once about a man on a train who was seated around a table near the window with three other passengers. Part way through the journey, he stood up, bought four coffees from the hospitality carriage and took them to his fellow travellers. The onlooker who recalled the story to me was shocked when all three of them rejected his offering, creating what you can imagine was a very awkward environment.

Life is about giving and receiving. If someone compliments you, try not to contradict them, as this dilutes some of the good feeling they are giving you. If someone criticises you, think of the times you have been critical to another person or organisation. Didn’t you hope that they would use your words to improve and become better? It can be hard, but try to think about everything as an opportunity to improve a relationship, learn a lesson, spark off an idea or make yourself – or somebody else – feel good.

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