Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It from Your Life and Transform Your Soulby Bob Burg, Bob Burg
Evil speech can destroy friendships, break up marriages and ruin businesses. Gossip-negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations-not only hurts the person being talked about, it also hurts the person speaking and the person listening. In short, gossip has a negative impact on everyone. Yet, despite these negative consequences, gossip has been around since/i>… See more details below
Evil speech can destroy friendships, break up marriages and ruin businesses. Gossip-negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations-not only hurts the person being talked about, it also hurts the person speaking and the person listening. In short, gossip has a negative impact on everyone. Yet, despite these negative consequences, gossip has been around since the beginning of humankind and continues to be a popular but destructive pastime.
Throughout this timely and enjoyable book, readers will learn what the Bible and Jewish wisdom have to say regarding speech and how their teachings relate to our world today. Readers will also learn via real-life examples how to break the gossip habit and how to teach others to do the same. Gossip will help people develop skills to improve their lives by getting along better with others; mending old hurts and reclaiming lost relationship; keeping good relationships from going bad through hurtful words; and strengthening relationships they already have by speaking in a more encouraging and productive manner.
The purpose of this book is to extinguish the fire of evil speech and help us live in a gossip-free environment. The result? Positive interactions with the people around us, the healing of relationships and a more complete self.
- Health Communications, Incorporated
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Read an Excerpt
Chapter Two - Body and Soul
We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.
Aristotle, De Anima
Mastering the gift of speech serves no purpose unless you realize that you are not just a body, but also a soul. If you believe you are simply a body, put down this book and do whatever you want, as long as you don't get caught. You can live the bumper sticker "Whoever dies with the most toys, wins." Living life only as a body infers there is no ultimate justice, no Higher Authority and no rules, except those imposed by humans.
If you know you have a soul given to you by a Creator, then living life is another matter entirely. It means that what you do really does matter, even if no one knows about it. It means there is ultimate justice. It means that the choices we make in this world make a difference, not just for here and now, but for eternity.
You do have a soul, and it is the essence of who you are. You are probably nodding in agreement, as I think almost everyone would. If I stood outside your local mall asking everyone who passed "Are you a body, or are you a body and a soul?" I think almost 100 percent would answer "I am a body and a soul."
Yes, we say it, but how many of us live it? How many of us wake up every day realizing that God has given us the gift of another day, that once again our soul has been restored?
I am married to a rabbi. But I don't wake up every day saying "I'm a soul, I'm a soul!" No, I wake up bleary-eyed (hey, I've got five kids!), stagger to the bathroom, dress, wake my children, eat, drink, do a carpool, finish a chapter for my publisher, shop, eat again, drink again, go to the bathroom, do more carpools, feel hot, feel cold, feel tired. Hey, it's a very physical, body-oriented world. Even when married to a rabbi, you can forget that you are a soul.
Yet God has a way of reminding us. We all have had experiences when we know we are not just bodies but are souls. These are soul-awakening moments. Take a moment now and reflect. Think of a time in your life where you had a soul-awakening experience.
Perhaps it was the birth of a baby-a very physical experience, but certainly one that is soul-filled. A woman is a mini-creator, bringing forth life. At birth, a miracle is happening, and a new soul comes into this world. It's magic.
Have you ever gone into the countryside and looked into a night sky free from smog or city lights? You see thousands of stars, points of light that go on forever. You lift up your hand and you can almost touch eternity.
Ever have a near-death experience? Whoa-there's a wake-up call! I knew a man who accidentally fell from a third-story balcony. He lived to tell the tale, and his life was forever changed. Every year on the anniversary of the fall, he has a celebration and publicly gives thanks "for the best day of my life." He says that until that day he was living completely as a body, on the fast track of life, cultivating the proverbial "wine, women and song." He was the coolest, most popular guy in his social group, moving "up" just as fast as he could.
Then the fall stopped him in his tracks. When he was released in a wheelchair from the hospital and arrived home to recover, he phoned my husband and said, "Rabbi, I know that God saved me from this fall. Not only did I live, but the doctors say my recovery so far has been miraculous, and they expect me to walk again." Then he said something much more profound. "Yes, God saved me from this fall, but I also know that He pushed me, and I want to know why."
My husband spent time with him, and together they planned a different direction for his life.
Every year this man publicly gives thanks and says, "On that day, God did me a great kindness. He got my attention. Until then I was living as a body, and from that day on, I was awakened to the fact that I was also a soul."
The ultimate soul-awakening experience is witnessing death. The death of a loved one can awaken within us every emotion possible. Suddenly, the physical, mundane annoyances in life mean nothing. No one is standing at a graveside thinking, Gosh, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer. What am I going to make for dinner? Everyone is standing at a graveside thinking What is life all about? What happens after we die? Is there a God? Am I living my life the way I should?
September 11, 2001, was the ultimate modern-day, soul-awakening moment for the entire world. Thousands of people lost their lives, impacting their families and friends, as well as tens of millions of others. Countless people reexamined their lives. People made life decisions like never before. Reports chronicled a surge of people committing and recommitting to marriage. Many people shared with my husband and me their feelings that they realized that certain aspects of their lives until that point had lacked depth and meaning, and now they were going to turn them around.
People trapped on the doomed planes and in the World Trade Center buildings made last-minute calls to their families. No one spoke about selling his or her stocks or buying a new car. People said, "I love you," and "Take care of the children. I trust that you will raise them well."
We clung to one another that day, and the days that followed, reconnecting like never before, resolving to be better people. Family members who had previously been estranged made peace. Friends who had been feuding for years reached out to each other and put aside differences.
What happened? Tragic death and near death dramatically lifted us out of our everyday "body" lives and thrust us all into a state of "soul." We all asked, "What is life all about? What are we living for? Am I living my life the way I should?"
Yes, September 11 was a soul-awakening experience.
An interesting article appeared that week. It reported that the writers of gossip columns had stopped writing. They recognized that their columns were inappropriate in the wake of such an event. Who wanted to read gossip about celebrities at a time when people were focusing on creating a more meaningful existence? One columnist said that gossip was inappropriate now, at least for a few days (my emphasis). Even she recognized that what she did for a living had little value and would be scorned in the wake of the tragedy. However, people soon fell back into their old habits of getting pleasure from gossiping and talking negatively about other people's lives.
We are not just bodies, we are also souls, and every time we choose to speak badly about someone, we are harming our souls. If we stopped for even a split second to reflect on the appropriateness of what we are about to say and listen to our inner voice, there's a good chance we would decide not to speak.
The idea that you are harming your soul is a difficult concept to grasp. Because we are so physical, we have a hard time relating to something that we can't physically hold and touch. Yet consider this about love: You can't hold onto it-but it is as real as the fingers on our hands.
To get smokers to stop smoking, a dramatic technique is used to scare them straight. Someone shows the smoker a picture of a pair of healthy lungs, and then a picture of the smoker's lungs. Smokers always know that with each puff they are damaging their lungs and harming their overall health, but because they can't see inside their bodies, their human tendency to rationalize blocks their ability to see the truth. If we could see a picture of our souls every time we gossiped, cheated, or lied, or made any wrong, selfish decision, we would see the effect it was having on our souls-and we'd all be scared straight.
Your soul is as real-or in a deeper sense, more real-than anything physical you can experience in this world. It is truly who you are. Your body is on loan, temporarily, a vessel to house the real you, which is your soul. One day you will give your body back. Only God knows how long you will have it.
Our souls, however, are eternal. They never die. Our life span in this world is minuscule compared to the scope of eternity. It is a world of opportunity, a world of choice.
Our souls' ultimate eternal pleasure will be based on the choices we make here. So choose wisely.
In the Bible, God says, "I have placed before you today the life and the good, and the death and the evil . . . choose life."1 Does that mean you should choose to breathe? No, it means choose life-choose what is right, choose meaning, choose to strive-choose life.
Learning the laws of positive speech, given to us some thousands of years ago, will help sensitize and guide you to always choose what is right. It is not always the easy choice, or the socially acceptable choice, but it is the right choice. Have the courage to do it, and you will see all of your relationships transform, including the one with yourself.
The one thing in the world of value,
is the active soul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
¬2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Gossip by Lori Palatnik with Bob Burg. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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