17 September, 2007

Art of listening

Every human being is born with talents. Few need to develop skills in which they are lacking. The most important is listening to others. We fail to realise how important listening is. In today’s fast food world people do not have time. At the same time, I honestly believe that if little time is spent in listening to others, most of the problems that exist between humans will vanish. Especially listening with relationship, siblings, friends, and colleagues is an art.

I have lots of friends. In general, I would like to listen and talk as well. There is nothing like having a good company for conversing, especially during travelling or while being at home. Only certain people are very good in talking, and certain people are good at listening. People who are good in one can try to develop the other one which they are not good. There are few who could listen for hours together. It is really interesting to talk something useful to such people. Listening is very essential to excel in any field. Once when I had been in marketing, I had a nice boss who always listened to his colleagues, especially to those who worked under him. After hearing to our talk, he used to pass his views. We felt very happy with him especially when he listened to our grievances. It was immaterial to analyse whether he fulfilled our demands or not, but he showed interest in listening. This earned a lot of respect for him.

Listening helps us to improve other skills automatically. By being a good listener, we are able to analyse the problem. Then we discuss again the issue that is before our hand, and draw few strategies and try to solve the problem. If we are not good listeners, we hardly solve the problems and leave them unattended. People think they waste time in listening to others. Actually, it is the other way which it works. Spending a little more time in listening avoids time being spent unnecessarily in evolving plans those are not required.

I had few junior colleagues who were always hasty in doing things. They always thought that they knew everything from birth. They never wanted to listen to a detailed conversation. I came to know later that they learnt by experience. I wish some of my elder relatives are still alive. One of my relative was very good in general knowledge and English literature. On his own interest he developed his knowledge on Homeopathy and was a Doctor for his village. He had so much of knowledge on lots of subjects; it was great to listen to him. When we visited his village, it was a treat for our ears.

Sometimes, I motivate my children to talk and try to know things from their side. It is a great feeling to listen to children. I have admired them for their innocent way of expressions. During our school days, we had moral studies classes. Storytelling and listening was encouraged. I do not know whether they have this nowadays. It is a great feeling to see the expressions while listening. Most of the religions have preachers. It is also a great art to preach something. As a young boy, I have listened to lots of religious discourses. Since I studied in a Christian school, I have listened to lots of Bible discourses. We had been taken back by many of those preachers. There are few stories which are very fresh in our mind, because of such good lecturers. They had done a very good influence on our lives. Even today indirectly I am influenced by such good speakers. We had heard many Hindu religious discourses in our younger days. Bagavathars like Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Sasthrigal, Jayaram Sastrigal, Yembar Vijayaraghavachariar, Kirubananda Variar, were those few gifted scholars to whom I had listened in my younger days. I cannot forget lectures of Jiddu Krishnamurthy in Adyar. I personally think, my earlier days of listening to such great people has helped me a lot in my life.

Last week my son and I went for a long walk. We met an old couple waiting for a bus. I just picked up conversation. I found lots of medals on the gentleman’s coat. Just out of inquisitiveness I enquired about those medals and we found a great smile on the couple’s faces. He started talking about his experiences in Army. He went in detail about each medal. What a surprise! One of the medals was given to him by Winston Churchill. He was a world war veteran and he was thrilled to talk about his experiences. His wife said that her husband was 85 and she intervened to help him when he ran short of few names. Probably the conversation went on for 10 minutes and we both listened to them with patience. After a while on seeing the gentleman getting exhausted, we thanked him and walked away. My son realised how much we learnt within those ten minutes.

There was a great speaker in Tamil Literature called “Silamboli Su. Chellappan”. I do not know how many of my blog readers would have heard his speeches. I still remember his quotes during one of his speech to youngsters. “Young man, please do not try to become independent before 18. If you could be disciplined until 18, then you can be independent after 18. But if you try to be independent before 18, then you will be forced to be disciplined and dependent after 18”. We were a bunch of youngsters who listened to his speech then. I have seen it practically in my life. I see many of them who were on their own too early in their life without listening to others. We know where they are now.
We do not lose anything by listening. This is another art which is fading now.


Jeevan said...

Absolutely your speech was great here; i am listening to it now. Listening is good for us, and we are not going to ignoble listen to any one. Even I feel of losing times, I think only about the good things I am going to learn from listening and how well ours thoughts are compare to them.

Balaji S Rajan said...


Thanks for your comments. Yes listening is good for us and it avoid misunderstanding. You have a good habit.