Have you ever listened to your neighbor, your friend, your partner talking? I mean really listen to the person? Not many of us have. However, these talks, these chats contain a wealth of information. This information is lost on most of us because we tend to focus on ourselves, our egos take over and we question the person before he or she has time to divulge his or her innermost secret.

Someone came to me once, and asked, "Do you know what I've been through today?"

Of course I didn't, and said so. "No, what's happened?"

"The devil, I'm sure," she replied. "I tell you, I've had a hell of a day."

Again I asked, "What's happened?"

"Nothing, really, I'm sure I don't want to bother you with my problem."

Even though I had asked twice, the woman seemed reluctant to explain why she had such an awful day.

"If I asked is because I want to know," I told her.

"Well, if you really want to know, I took the bus this morning, and as usual I had to stand beside one of these women who do not know what deodorant means"

I let her go on for a good two or three minutes before I asked her again, "What happened?" because thus far, nothing of what she had told me sounded terrible as she perceived it. She looked at me, a question mark on her face, "I just told you I had a terrible day, I tell you!"

The only "terrible" thing about this woman's day was her lack of focus. From the minute she got up that morning, she ran around thinking only of the moment she would arrive home, put her feet up and watch TV. The bottom line was that she tackled her day with a negative attitude, and throughout the drudgery of the hours she spent at her office, nothing seemed to spark any interest in her mind. Basically she was tired, depressed, stressed out and she couldn't pin point the problem except by saying that she had a terrible day.

I invited her in - she was my neighbor, by the way - and asked her if she'd like to tell me exactly what was bothering her.

This time and for a few weeks afterwards, we sat down after work and I listened to her.

When she moved away, she was a different person. She took pride in her appearance. She had her hair done every week, her hands were carefully manicured, and most importantly she was going to work every day with a smile on her face. She was now able to "listen to others" and benefit from their chats.

If you have a problem you wish to share, talk about or discuss with me, do write to me - I'm always on line to "listen".