Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thought for the Day - What We Miss When We Don't Listen

I was talking to my friend the other day. I wanted to tell him about this temple near Alampur close to Kurnool which was supposedly pretty old, 6th century or so. I was planning a day trip sometime and wanted to tell him that he could consider it too.

'You know there is a temple near Alampur,' I began, 'it's not been made popular as some others but...'
He cut in.

'How can you make all temples popular?' he said in an agitated tone. 'We cannot blame our government for some temple not being popular. There is Tirupati, Sri kalahasti, Srisailam and so many more temples to take care of. There are so many more to popularise if we wanted to but they just cannot do it for everything. Why do we expect them to do everything...,'

And he went on and on about how we expect too much from the government and want them to do everything. The insinuation was that I was perhaps blaming the government for not doing enough when they already have and are.

I must confess that I had nothing of that sort in my mind. All I wanted was to tell him about these wonderful 6th century temples which were a day trip away. By the time the tirade ended, there was no talk about the temples, why they were popular, what was special about them. It took off on an assumption that I was saying something against someone, and ended achieving nothing.

More than anything it shows how much we miss when we do not listen. Each time we cut into someone while they are talking, we are throttling one thought and taking it in a completely different direction. There is no harm done in an innocuous conversation like ours but I can imagine what happens in organisations that need new thoughts and ideas. In schools and colleges. Once snubbed, many people do not come forward to share anymore. Like they say, criticism kills the spirit.

If we are to allow new ideas and new thought, we must first learn to listen to others and their point of view. What are they trying to say? Even if it does appear similar to an old thought, they may have a slight improvisation. We can see how they think, what their thought process is like and encourage more ideas. Most may be bad, but what we need are the one or two diamonds that can make a difference. The way to find those diamonds is to listen, to make them want to share and to genuinely understand that they wish to contribute. Encourage the thinking process, do not interfere with your preconceived notions and opinions, and soon you will have more ideas than you can handle.

But first, listen. Hear then out. Then speak.

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