Monday, January 30, 2012

Are you listening?

How many times have you been asked -'Are you even listening?'
How many times have you asked the same question to someone else?

                                                                  image courtesy Google
Continuous rants on visual media,social media,Lit fests,bring out this one factor very prominently to fore,that we as a society ,love to talk and hate to listen.Freedom of expression is not only about being fiercely vocal about something,it also involves passive listening.What we see all around us is everyone doing the talking and no one making an attempt to listen .The impatience to cut the other person's talk to put forth one's own views is all too evident on the faces of so called opinion makers,panelists and anchors.

Passive listening is exactly that-passivvee.If it has an active thought process in the background,then it becomes hearing not listening.To listen,we need to surrender momentarily to the thought process of the other person.Even in debates.Even the silliest of opinions have to be listened to ,not merely heard.Listening makes you learn,listening makes you earn,respect as well as money.Successful salesmen are good at both,talking and listening.If he fails to listen to the requirement,he fails to sell.

Krishnamurti (and I am inspired heavily) said that listening is one of the highest and greatest arts in life which does not come easily but when it does,brings great understanding. 

Contrary to popular and seemingly more logical belief, concentration is the enemy of listening.Hain!!Yeh kya? ...Actually,it starts very early in childhood when you keep telling a child to concentrate in class.When forced,concentration leads to lack of attention and hence narrowed down listening.Not convinced?Think about it,think about incidences in your childhood when you were forced to concentrate on a talk,how everything else except the subject came alive suddenly .I have been on both sides of the desk so I know that forcing someone to pay attention does not guarantee good listening.

It is said that to enhance listening without making it seem lite a task,is to try listening to a far away sound,shifting to a  closer sound,still closer and finally sound of your own takes time but you get there slowly.

Listening develops patience,increases your analytical capabilities, enhances managerial skills but above all it prevents foot in the mouth syndrome.Politicians need a crash course in the art but alas it is the most difficult art to impart.To many it comes naturally and those gifted ones ,are known as  matured and saintly.

'Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage'-Pubilius Syrus

So...Are you listening?!


  1. Yes Sharmila, I am listening to you and the scores of bloggers whose blogs I now regularly visit.

    I get sick of TV Talk shows where the participants don't show any inclination to listen and keep interrupting each other.

    That is why I love debates in blogs.
    The participants communicate by writing, not talking.
    There is no way any one can interrupt a participant.
    At worst, some one can stop reading what is written.

    I am reminded of the old saying.
    God gave us two ears and only one mouth so that we may listen more and talk less.

    Nowadays, I read more and write less.

    1. I totally agree to GV here..there was a reason why we have 2 ears and one mouth :)

  2. Reading is listening Vishwanahji :)

  3. Suku,wish we use them accordingly:)

  4. Listening is indeed such a difficult thing to do. We think we are listening when we actually are not. And when we listen.. we do learn a lot and it accentuates our knowledge and thought process. Nicely written. :)

  5. Thank you Raj.what we do most of the times is hear,not listen and there lies the difference.



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