Quality of life. We all strive for it. We plan for it. After 35 years of seeing patients as a psychologist, I have decided that there is one central factor that is germane to your quality of life. With it, doors will open, people will feel connected to you, relationships will flourish, and life will have more meaning. Without it, you become more isolated, less happy and influential.


Your ability to communicate is the key to your quality of life.


In part one of this series we examined the four traits are needed to be a great communicator. They are:


1. You need to be able to access you innermost thoughts and feelings.

2. You need to be able to identify and verbalize these thoughts and feelings.

3. You have to be able to accurately understand what another person is saying.

4. You need to be able to make conversations as personal as possible.


Now I'm going to give you a concrete plan for realizing these traits.


I want you to simply have one hour a day that you give to becoming a first-class communicator. One hour a day for 70 days. Are you willing to do that? If you're willing to do this, then here are some ideas about how you can accomplish some things that will make you a great communicator.


1. Go out today and buy yourself a journal. Right now. It needs to have a lot of pages in it. I carry a journal around with me all the time. I have one right now. It has about three, four hundred pages in it, and I want you to buy a journal like that.


I want you to spend 20 minutes each day, exactly 20 minutes, writing in that journal about whatever it is you're thinking and feeling at the time. Don't take your pencil or your pen off the page. Just write for 20 minutes. I don't want you spending longer than that; just 20 minutes to think on the page about what you're feeling and thinking at any given point in the process.


2. Sign up with the very best person you can find for 10 sessions of counseling. This doesn't have to be expensive, it certainly doesn't need to be a psychiatrist or even a psychologist. It can be a marriage counselor. It can be the minister of your church. I want you to sign up for exactly 10 one-hour sessions.


3. Find yourself three partners with whom you can talk for one hour each week for 10 weeks. If they say, "What do you want to talk about?" Tell them, "I'm trying to become a better communicator and I want to talk about anything you want to talk about or I want to talk about or we want to talk about. I just want to talk to you for an hour a week in an effort to build my own communication skills."